The Dangers of Distraction
Many do not realize that drowning is the leading cause of death for children under the age of 5 years. Many do not realize that drowning does not look or sound the way movies and television portray it. It is not loud and there is not always splashing or arms flailing. A child can slip under the water quietly and go unnoticed if you are not watching carefully.
There are many Layers of Protection to Prevent Drowning, but it starts with supervision. If you are at the pool with your child, take responsibility for their safety. Drownings have happened with lifeguards present. Others have happened at pool parties where both parents were present, each thinking the other had an eye on their child.
“Water Safety is one of the most overlooked safety issues in our country when you think about how much seatbelts, fires, and other safety issues are discussed. It is time to do something about that and include this issue in our safety conversations. Educating our families and working together as communities to promote awareness are essential to preventing drowning.”, according to Megan Bachman, founder of Oklahoma Swim Academy.
9 out of 10 drownings happen while someone is within view, according to the National SAFE KIDS Campaign’s Clear Danger: A National Study of Childhood Drowning and Related Attitudes and Behaviors. Most have this in common – a distraction. Books, magazines, conversations – they can all cost a price you are not willing to pay.
One of the largest growing dangers to children at pools is cell phones. Many of us do not even realize how attached we are to them. Every ring, every buzz causes us to look down to see what is happening or who is reaching out to us. Phones are awesome and I am grateful to be living in this age of technology with so much information at our fingertips, but cell phones have no place next to an adult at the pool.
It only takes a matter of seconds for your whole life to be flipped upside down. The pool does not need to be a scary place. It is important to understand the danger, however, it is also important not to instill a fear of water in children. Cars can be dangerous as well and we all still use them. It is not about avoiding swimming, it is about being aware of the danger and going about it the right way. The pool is a great place to go as a family and can be a fun opportunity to connect with your kids and give them your full attention. Teach them to respect the water, but give them a love for safe swimming as well.
Consider taking this pledge to prevent drowning from PoolSafely.gov:
I pledge that I will…
- Designate a water watcher every single time children in my care are in or near the water.
- Make sure my kids know how to swim.
- As a parent or guardian, learn CPR.
- Always remove portable pool ladders when not in use.
- Ensure all permanent pools have a proper fence and gate and safer drain covers.
Make it official and submit your pledge online and receive a free safety toolkit!
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