Drowning Prevention 101: Swim Safe This Summer

Make the pool or lake a safer outing this summer

Many families reprieve from the summer heat by spending time at the pool and other water sources. Unfortunately, this can create a potential for water-related injuries and death—even if someone can swim. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports drowning is the single leading cause of injury-related death among U.S. children ages 1 to 4, and remains the third-leading cause of unintentional injury-related death among children ages 5-19.

Here’s some good news, though: With these tips, drowning can be very preventable.

1. Learn How to Swim

In March 2019, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) released updated guidelines for drowning prevention to combat the dangers of water for children. One of the recommendations advises both children and parents learn to swim. Be sure to look for a program that has certified instructors and groups according to one’s abilities.

2. Ignore Your Phone

Drownings typically occurs when a child is left unattended or a parent is distracted. It can be quick and silent, in as little as 20 seconds for a child. Turn off your phone and refrain from distracting activities like playing cards, reading or using alcohol or drugs. Always keep kids who are not yet experienced swimmers within arm’s reach using the touch supervision method.

3. Water Wings and Floats Aren’t Safety Devices

The CDC doesn’t recommend the use of water wings in any body of water—period. The only personal flotation devices approved for swimming are life jackets and preservers.

What about those fun inflatable pool toys or noodles? They are not recommended either. These all can provide a false sense of security. A child could easily flip and get trapped underneath. If you do use inflatables in your pool, monitor their use and remember to remove them when you are done.

4. Put Down the Booze When You Swim or Cruise

According to the CDC, 70 percent of teen and adult drownings involve alcohol. Alcohol use influences balance, coordination and judgment and the effects can heighten with sun exposure and heat. Be smart around the water.

5. Learn CPR

CPR performed by bystanders has been shown to save lives and improve outcomes in drowning victims. To find a CPR training class near you, visit bannerhealth.com/calendar.

Swimming is a healthy and fun summer activity. You should feel confident going to the pool with these tips and know that with a little extra attention, you can splash around with your kids worry-free. For more drowning safety tips, visit bannerhealth.com and read about the updated AAP guidelines.

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