Fort Worth, Texas,
09:11 AM

Drowning prevention

7 tips that may save your child's life

Did you know that drowning will most likely affect you or someone you know?

Drowning is the leading cause of unintentional injury-related death in children ages 1 to 4 years old and the second leading cause of unintentional injury-related death for ages 1 to 14.

SafeKids Tarrant County, led by Cook Children’s, offers other sobering facts for parents leading into this swimming season:

  • Drowning can still occur even if you know how to swim.
  • No one is “drown proof” – no matter their level of swimming ability.
  • Falls, entrapments and injuries lead to drowning regardless of swimming level.
  • A majority of people overestimate their own and their child’s ability to swim, especially in a panic.
  • Drowning is quick and silent.
  • Drowning occurs in as little as 2 minutes.
  • Irreversible brain damage occurs in as little as 4 minutes.
  • Most children who drown are out of sight or missing for less than 5 minutes and usually in the presence of 1 or both parents.
  • Most children die who are submerged for as little as 6-10 minutes.
  • Children who drown do not scream splash or struggle. They silently slip beneath the water, even with adults and lifeguards present.

That’s scary information, but there are steps you can take to help protect your child and have a safe summer while in the water:

1. Constant visual supervision

  • Assign an adult water guardian whose only responsibility is to watch children who are in the water.
  • Teach children who can’t swim to stay away from water unless they are with an adult who is within arm’s reach and has eye-to-eye contact on them.

2. Learn to swim

  • Studies show that formal swim lessons for children under age 4 reduce drowning by 88 percent.
  • Take swim lessons with your child if you don’t know how to swim yourself. Even adults who are strong swimmers should never swim alone.

3. Keep backyards and bathrooms safe

  • Dump all water buckets and empty kiddie pools when they are not in use.
  • Install safety latches on toilets
  • Never leave children unattended in the bathtub

4. Multiple barriers on all pools and spas

  • Install pool fences, self-closing, self-latching gates and door alarms in areas leading to pools and spas.
  • Keep a phone by the pool and call 911 in an emergency
  • Keep pool area picked up and clear of toys and other items which might attract an unsupervised child.

5. Always check pool/spa first for missing child

  • Make sure to look at the bottom of the pool or spa.
  • Do not quickly scan the top and move on – children who drown often sink to the bottom and appear as shadows that easily be overlooked.
  • Every second counts.

6. Wear life jackets

  • Children who cannot swim should always wear a properly sized Coast Guard approved life jacket.
  • Do not rely on water wings, floats or other toys to keep children safe.

7. Learn CPR

  • Studies show CPR doubles the victim’s chance of survival.
  • Use hard/fast compressions in the center of the chest until help arrives.
  • Refresh CPR skills yearly, certifications every two years.
  • Post CPR guidelines near the pool.

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