100% of the time, drownings and near drowning incidents are 100% preventable. Should I say that again? 100% of the time, drownings and near drowning incidents are 100% preventable! But we see year after year after year, 25 children dead, 23 children dead, 27 children dead, not to mention those on life support or dealing with severe medical issues due to the brain damage that occurs during near drowning incidents – all preventable if we stopped assuming and started watching.
Here are five things to STOP ASSUMING when your child is around water (pool, bath tub, open containers of water):
- My fence has a latch, I don’t need a lock, my child knows not to open the gate without me
- I called all the children inside from the pool, they are probably all inside, I don’t need to do a head count
- I don’t need a life guard or a designated “water watcher” at the family BBQ/pool party… each person can just watch their child
- He/She will be fine in the tub/by the pool for a second, I just need to run to the other room and grab something really quick, I will be back in 10 seconds
- I don’t need to learn CPR or ask caretakers to learn CPR, as long as we watch the kids, everything will be fine
1. The Fence: Make sure you have one. 87% of all child drownings occur because the child had direct access to water. Also, if you do have a fence, put a lock on it. Latches don’t always latch, sometimes it’s windy and the latch doesn’t connect all the way, sometimes the dog runs into the fence and the latch unhooks, and sometimes the child figures out how to unlatch the fence and, during their backyard playtime, doesn’t intend on swimming but accidentally falls in. NEVER assume that everything will always go as planned. Spend the $3 and buy a lock for your gate. This ensures that the gate is latched and prevents children from being able to enter the pool area without supervision.
2. Head Count: If swim time is over, don’t just assume all the kids made it in. It literally takes 30 seconds to do a head count before latching and locking your gate. Just do it.
3. Watcher Watchers: If you are having a party and you have a pool, either hire a life guard or designate some water watchers. Even if it is not a pool party, if there is potential access to the pool, designate people to watch it. Insist that these people only watch for 15 minutes at a time, and during that time they are focused on the pool and are not drinking, on their cell phone, or utilizing other distractions. Rotate your water watchers and limit their alcohol intake. 97% of child drownings occur due to a lack of supervision.
4. “I just turned my back for a second”: Before entering the pool or the bath tub, do a mental check list of everything you need. Bath time: cell phone, towel, soap, shampoo, diaper, clothing, etc. Pool: cell phone, sun screen, snacks, bathing suit, towel, extra clothes, etc. If you forget an item, as inconvenient as it is, take your child out of the water with you to retrieve the item(s). Remember, 97% of child drownings occur due to a lack of supervision.
5. Learn CPR: Just because you are diligent about everything on the list, doesn’t mean other people are. Learn CPR JUST IN CASE something happens to your child, or to another child if you are somewhere else. Also, make it a priority that all of your child’s babysitters (grandparents, teen sitters, aunts, uncles, cousins, friends, etc) are trained in CPR and are trained in drowning and the drowning prevention techniques shown above. If you don’t want to send your family to a public CPR class, 123 CPR will come to your house and train you and your family for the same low cost that is charged for attending any of our public classes.
It is only February of 2015 and two children have already fallen into pools and almost drowned in the last four days here in Arizona (Stories found HERE). Because there was no fence around the pool and the babysitters assumed the child was inside. Summer is around the corner. Get trained in CPR and have your child’s caretakers get trained in CPR before it is too late. Register for a class today by calling 623-398-5811 or click HERE for a list of our classes.
All statistics found here: http://www.phoenixchildrens.org/community/injury-prevention-center/water-safety/diam