Pool Safety Includes Kids Knowing How to Swim
As we go through life it is amazing how many people you meet that never learned how to swim. If these parents ever accompany their children to swimming pools or lakes, they do not have the skills to save their own child. Teaching children to swim should be mandatory, and is, if you own a pool.
Studies have shown that children who started swimming lessons at ages 2-4 actually learned to swim well at an average age of 5-1/2 years. Should you wait until kindergarten age to start swimming lessons? Absolutely not. While younger children may not swim well, they can be taught how to get to the edge of the pool. These precious seconds may well save their life.
Survival swimming is now being taught to children as young as six months. One statistic shows that 86% of children that drown do so while fully clothed. Survival swimming is taught to children who are fully clothed. Infant Swimming Resource is a website dedicated to reducing the number of accidental drownings. The author does not have any ties to the company or website, but would encourage the reader to visit this fine resource.
If we haven’t scared you enough about child drownings, think about this:
- Among children ages 1 to 4 years, most drownings occur in residential swimming pools (Brenner et al. 2001). Most young children who drowned in pools were last seen in the home, had been out of sight less than five minutes, and were in the care of one or both parents at the time (Present 1987).
- For every child who drowns, three receive emergency department care for non-fatal submersion injuries. More than 40% of these children require hospitalization (CDC 2003). Nonfatal incidents can cause brain damage that result in long-term disabilities ranging from memory problems and learning disabilities to the permanent loss of basic functioning (i.e. permanent vegetative state).
Do figures like these shake you up; make you sick to your stomach thinking “what if” about your own children? Then do something about it. Find out about infant swim programs. Find out about learn to swim programs for older children. And if you never learned how to swim, join a program yourself.
Learning how to swim is not the only requirement for swimming pool safety, just a very important one. Proper supervision and having fencing installed around the pool are also needed. Having a phone with you so you don’t have to leave the pool is another good idea. Other safety considerations can be found at the article resource page of Pool-Pockets
Children: In 2001, 859 children ages 0 to 14 years died from drowning (CDC 2003). While drowning rates have slowly declined (Branche 1999), drowning remains the second-leading cause of injury-related death for children ages 1 to 14 years (CDC 2003).
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Web-based Injury Statistics Query and Reporting System (WISQARS) [Online]. (2003). National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (producer). [cited 2003 Dec 31]. Available from URL: www.cdc.gov/ncipc/wisqars.
Branche CM. What is happening with drowning rates in the United States? In: Fletemeyer JR and Freas SJ, editors. Drowning: New perspectives on intervention and prevention. Florida: CRC Press LLC; 1999.
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