It’s a sad reality that many children didn’t receive lifesaving swim lessons this summer due to the pandemic. With schools closed and parents working remotely, it was difficult for many families to find the time or resources to get their children in the pool.
Drowning is the most common cause of death among children from 1 to 4 years old, and it’s one of the leading causes of death among teenagers. Children have more opportunity to swim in the summer, when they may have access to pools, lakes, and other sources of water — all of which pose a drowning danger.
“Swim lessons educate youngsters on a life skill that could save their lives,” Denny added in an AAP news release. “Studies show that taking formal swimming classes for kids aged 1 and older reduces the chance of drowning. Swim lessons are an important layer of protection against drowning, in addition to pool fencing, close supervision, and lifeguards.
According to the AAP, all children and adults should learn to swim. Swimming lessons may begin as early as age 1, but parents should evaluate their child’s maturity, health issues, water exposure, and readiness before determining if a youngster is ready for swimming lessons.
Around water, constant, attentive supervision is required. The AAP suggests that you designate an adult “water watcher” to constantly watch over swimming children and keep an eye on them.
When a young or inexperienced swimmer is in the water, a parent or water watcher should be within arm’s reach at all times. Water watchers should keep children under their watch while they are swimming even if they have learned to swim.
Drowning is a serious hazard for toddlers, particularly in their own homes. If you have young children, empty all buckets, bathtubs, and wading pools after use and close the bathroom door; also use toilet locks.
Pools should be surrounded by a four-sided fence with a self-closing and self-latching gate. Pool fencing has been found to reduce drowning risk by 50%. Additional safety measures include door locks, window locks, pool covers, and pool alarms.
We can’t drown-proof children, so it’s critical to put up fences and other barriers around water to ensure that kids aren’t able to get into the water when they’re alone.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) advises that children learn CPR, and that all adults and youngsters should wear U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jackets when they are on boats or in the water.
It’s also critical for parents and teenagers to realize how drinking alcohol or taking drugs increases the danger of drowning while swimming or boating.