Drowning is one of the leading causes of death in children. Children in the most danger of drowning are between the ages of 1 and 2 and again between the ages of 8 and 12. The children who drown between the ages of 8 and 12 are typically boys, and the drownings are most often associated with trespassing or disobedience. Alcohol often plays a role in teenagers' drownings.

Drownings can happen in a matter of seconds.

  • Swim with a buddy, never alone.
  • Don't dive or jump into the water. Always wade in first to avoid hitting your head on a shallow bottom. Diving should only be done in a least eight feet of water and only in approved areas. Diving is the leading cause of quadriplegia, paralysis of both arms and legs.
  • Don't push or jump on others.
  • Be prepared for an emergency.

If you see someone drowning - have someone else call 911 while you remove them from the water. DO THIS ONLY IF YOU ARE NOT PUT AT RISK. Immediately administer CPR. The first few moments after pulling someone from the water are extremely critical. It's important to remain calm, but react quickly.

DROWNINGS CAN BEST BE PREVENTED BY FOLLOWING 3 SAFETY STEPS:

  1. Spot the Hazard
  2. Assess the Risk
  3. Make Changes Quickly

Spot the Hazard

Look for the accident about to happen; identify all water hazards in and around your home. Could anything that contains water cause a child to drown? Think about the following objects that could lead to a drowning in and around your home:

  • Pools and spas
  • Water on pool covers
  • Wading pools
  • Baths
  • Buckets of water
  • Toilets
  • Rivers or lakes
  • Outdoor ponds

 

Assess the Risk

Whenever you Spot a Hazard - STOP AND THINK - ask yourself:

  • Can I get rid of the hazard, or use something safer?
  • Can I make it safe by repairing, modifying or isolating it?
  • Can I make sure people, especially children, are aware of the problem, and are given clear rules on how to avoid being harm?
  • Can I provide quality supervision of children to ensure there is no risk of drowning?

 

THINK ABOUT THE FOLLOWING STRATEGIES FOR DEALING WITH WATER HAZARDS IF YOU ARE WATCHING CHILDREN:

Always watch children near water - ALWAYS! Beware of deadly distractions:

  • Telephone calls
  • Doorbells
  • Something cooking
  • Another child (making a mess, crying, fighting, etc.)
  • The pet (causing a mess, running around, etc.)

Take the child with you if you answer the phone at bath time.

Buckets and pails should have a firm lid and be stored up high.

Indoor spas should have a lockable door and be emptied immediately after use.

Empty wading pools immediately after use.

With empty wading pools, wheelbarrows, pails, etc., turn them over or stand them up so rainwater can't collect in them.

Don't allow any water to stand on a pool cover. A person will slide into the center and the water will pool, quickly reaching 7-10 inches in depth.

Cover post holes or trenches dug during building.

After heavy rain, check your yard and empty any rain that collects in containers.

Remember that flotation aids are not lifesaving devices.

Learn how to give resuscitation. Call 911. In an emergency, try to have the phone near the victim. Directions will be given over the phone.

Make the Changes Quickly

Once you have spotted a water safety hazard and decided the best way to deal with it…DON"T DELAY!

If you ignore a hazard long enough, it may seem to go away. In reality, it becomes even more dangerous because people forget it's there.

 
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Designed by Jerren Saunders
Last Updated: February 21, 2005