Injury is the #1 killer of children and teens in the United States. In one year alone, more than 9,000 youth age 0-19 died from unintentional injuries in the US while millions more suffer injuries requiring treatment in the emergency department. Leading causes of child injury include motor vehicle crashes, suffocation, drowning, poisoning, fires, and falls. Child safety is among the most under-recognized public health problems facing our country today.
The good news is child injury is predictable and preventable!
Our guest contributor, Jenny Silverstone, shares some important information to help keep children safe this summer. It could help save a child’s life!
Keep Your Child Safe Near the Water This Summer
But the sad reality is, while the water is fun, it should also be respected. Swimming can be a dangerous activity. Every day in the U.S., ten people will die from drowning. Of those people, one in five will be children under the age of 14 years old, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. If you factor in boating accident deaths, that number is even higher.
Let’s look at ways to prevent those accidental deaths.
Know the Signs of Drowning
You might think of drowning the way you’ve seen it unfold in Hollywood movies or television shows, with a person waving and screaming for help. But that isn’t what it looks like, particularly for children.
Most times, a drowning child won’t call out for help — the priority is finding a way to breathe, which doesn’t leave any time for calling out for help while bobbing up and down.
There won’t be much, if any, waving of the arms by a child in distress in the water. When they’re drowning, children will use their arms to slap the water to try to stay above water.
In addition, drowning kids won’t make noise like other children who are playing in the water will.
Even if there is a lifeguard on duty at the pool or beach, you can’t rely on them to watch your child adequately. The body of water might be crowded, and that could lead to them missing a child in distress.
No one cares about your child more than you do. So instead of playing on your phone or answering emails, you should watch your child in the water or join them in there. If you’re in the water, try to keep an eye on the other children you see too.
Keep Any Medical Conditions in Mind
If your child has exercise-induced asthma, make sure to give them a puff off of their inhaler 15 or 20 minutes before they go in the water. That will help open their airways so they can breathe adequately while swimming.
If your child is prone to seizures, you should stay close to them in the water to intervene at the first sign of trouble.
Check the Weather
Before taking your child to the beach for the day, check the weather report. If there are thunderstorms expected or there are high winds where the water will be choppy, it’s best to stay away.
Brush Up on Your CPR
CPR isn’t difficult to learn, so you should make it a priority to do so. Contact your local hospital to find out if they offer free classes. You’ll feel much more confident about your ability to handle an emergency if you learn CPR. It will just take you a few hours and you’ll have the power to save someone’s life.
Be Careful with Pools in Your Backyard
Having a swimming pool in your backyard can be thrilling. Your house will become your child’s friend’s favorite hangout. But with that great recreational area comes great responsibility.
To keep your child safe from accidental drowning in your own backyard, you should make sure the door to the pool area is locked at all times to prevent your child from wandering in.
You should keep rescue equipment right near the pool — if you have to look for equipment when you need it, it might be too late to help a drowning child.
Also, those water drains in the pool should be covered so kids who are diving can’t stick their fingers in them and get caught at the bottom.
Stay Away From the Alcohol
Sitting around the poolside can give you a vacation feel and you might want to crack open a cold can of beer or mix up a frosty margarita to beat the heat. But drinking around the pool or beach while you’re supposed to be taking care of your kids is a really bad idea.
Alcohol can lower your defenses and dull your senses so you might not notice if your child is in danger. Having a drink or two isn’t worth your child paying a steep consequence.
Let’s Protect Children Together
This article was a guest contribution by Jenny Silverstone who is in full support of the American Society for the Positive Care of Children’s dedication to fighting abuse, violence and maltreatment against children. Jenny upholds the ASPCC’s vision to have a positive impact on children by creating comprehensive free resources like her swimming safety guide, in hopes of educating parents and creating a safer future for all children. Jenny believes we’re all in this together, and protecting all children should be a priority for any caring parent — whether they are our children or someone else’s.