Summer is here, and that means time spent beating the heat in lakes, pools, oceans—anywhere with water. But did you know that, according to the Fort Worth Drowning Prevention Coalition (FWDPC), Texas is the No. 1 state for pool drowning deaths?
Of course, it’s a problem outside of Texas too. Drowning is “the single leading cause of death for children ages 1–4, and it’s one of the top causes of death for teens,” says Dr. Ben Hoffman, pediatrician and chair of the American Association of Pediatrics (AAP) council on injury, violence and poison prevention.
With more kids at home this summer due to the ongoing pandemic, they have even more access to sources of water. This creates a higher drowning risk.
So what can you do to prevent that from happening?
The AAP has some rules and tips that both parents and kids should know and follow to the letter:
“All children and adults should learn to swim.” The AAP suggests that if swim lessons are suspended in your area due to COVID, add other layers of protection until lessons are accessible.
Pay close, constant attention around water. “Assign an adult ‘water watcher,’ who should not be distracted by work, socializing or chores,” says AAP.
Empty all bathtubs, buckets, wading pools and other similar items immediately after use. And if you have young kiddos, keep your bathroom doors closed.
“Pools should be surrounded by a four-sided fence, with a self-closing and self-latching gate.” The AAP says that research shows pool fencing can reduce the risk of drowning by 50%. It wouldn’t hurt to add additional barriers too, such as door locks, pool covers and pool alarms.
Learn CPR. This goes for adults and older kids alike.
The AAP suggests that when on a boat or other watercraft, adults and children should wear U.S. Coast Guard approved life jackets.
Understand that the use of alcohol and drugs increases the risk of drowning for adults and teens.
For more information on drowning prevention, visit the AAP’s site as well as the FWDPC site. Also, consider checking out the CDC’s recently issued guidance on public pools, hot tubs and water parks in light of COVID-19.
Image courtesy of iStock.