Written by Crystal Schwalger
Staying cool in southern Utah is no easy task, especially when the temperature is continually over 100 degrees every single day. As we know, the unrelenting heat is here to stay; at least it will be for the next couple of months. We also know that nothing feels better than to cool off either by swimming or just hanging out by water somewhere. While everyone loves the water, kids especially are drawn to it, so it’s so important to make sure they are being safe as well as staying cool and having fun.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, drowning is the number one cause of death for children ages 1-4. They say that most drowning incidents happen when a child is left unattended and falls into a pool, bathtub, or other body of water. Their statistics also say that among children up to age 14, fatal drowning remains the second-leading cause of unintentional injury-related death behind motor vehicle crashes.
That statistic is not only alarming, it is sad because many of these deaths could have been prevented with preparation and parents being aware and in the moment with their children. Distracted parents and children in water are a recipe for disaster. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, “more than 350 infants and toddlers drown in swimming pools each year nationwide, the majority in the summer months of June, July and August and most in backyard pools.” In addition, more than 350 infants and toddlers drown each year in bathtubs, and infant bath seats. In order to hopefully change that statistic, here are the following recommendations and tips for water safety by the CDC, and the National Safety Council:
– Because drowning is often the silent killer, never leave a small child unattended in water, even for a minute or two. Remember, a child can drown in a tub, sink, or even a bucket of water just as easily as they can in a lake or pool; if you have to leave, take your child with you.
– If you have a pool, install a fence at least four-feet high around all four sides of the pool. The fence should not have openings or protrusions that a young child could use to get over, under, or through. Make sure pool gates open out from the pool, and self-close and self-latch at a height children can’t reach. If the house serves as the fourth side of a fence surrounding a pool, install an alarm on the exit door to the yard and the pool.
– Enroll children 3 and older in swimming lessons, but remember that lessons don’t make your child “drown-proof.”
– Lifeguards aren’t babysitters; always keep your eyes on your child. Your eyes on your child are the best lifeguard a child can have.
– Don’t let children play around drains and suction fittings. Children and even adults have become trapped underwater and drowned when clothing or hair has gotten sucked up in the drain and they couldn’t escape.
– Avoid inflatable swimming aids such as “floaties” or “water wings.” They are not a substitute for approved life vests and can give children and parent a false sense of security.
– Whenever infants or toddlers are in or around water, an adult should be within arm’s length, providing “touch supervision.”
– Large inflatable above-ground pools have become increasingly popular for backyard use. Children may fall in if they lean against the soft side of an inflatable pool. Although such pools are often exempt from local pool fencing requirements, it is essential that they be surrounded by an appropriate fence just as a permanent pool would be so that children cannot gain unsupervised access.
– Always have a first aid kit and emergency contacts handy.
– Get training in CPR.
– If a child is missing, check the water first.
The following rules apply to all swimmers:
– Never swim alone.
– Don’t dive into unknown bodies of water.
– Don’t push or jump on others.
– Be prepared for an emergency.
Remember that with every hot summer day comes the possibility of new, fun summer memories at a pool, river, or lake. All you need to add is preparation, prevention, and good parental attention, and those days can be memories to cherish, not dread.
Crystal Schwalger has loved writing ever since she could remember. Her love of learning led her to Dixie State University where she graduated with a degree in English and Communications. She is passionate about writing and believes that you should never give up on your dreams. She is happiest when she is at home enjoying her backyard green spaces with her family. She currently lives in Washington Utah with her husband, her children, and her dog Kali.