From The Trussville Tribune Staff Reports
Summer is a time to hit the pool, beach or lake to cool off, but drowning is the leading cause of unintentional injury death among children ages 1-4.
Although young children are the primary age bracket affected, they aren’t the only ones subject to the tragedy, as about 10 people die every day from unintentional drowning, making it rank fifth for unintentional injury death in the United States.
More than half of drowning victims who are treated at emergency departments require extended hospitalization or long-term care.
While drowning can’t always be prevented, there are many factors that can be taken to help keep you safe while swimming., according to the American College of Emergency Physicians:
- Supervise Young Children- They must be watched at all times when near water. It can take only a matter of seconds for a child to accidentally drown when an adult turns away.
- Learn to Swim- Formal swim lessons can protect people, especially young children from drowning.
- Learn CPR- It can take paramedics several minutes to arrive. Having CPR skills often times can mean the difference between life and death or permanent brain damage.
- Use the Buddy System- Never swim alone. Always be with someone. Swim in areas that have lifeguards on duty if possible.
- Don’t Drink and Swim- Drinking alcohol while on a boat or swimming in the water can severely impair a person’s judgment and cognitive skills. Also, never drink alcohol while supervising children.
- Use Life Jackets – When on a boat, make sure the number of (Coast Guard approved) life jackets match the number of passengers on the boat and that they are easily accessible in case of emergency. Young children should have a life vest on at all times in a boat, or in the water. Potentially half of all boating deaths might be prevented with the use of life jackets.
- Air-Filled or Foam Toys Not Safety Devices- These toys are not substitutes for life jackets and are not designed to keep swimmers safe.
- Be Aware of Weather Conditions- If strong winds or heavy thunderstorms and lightning roll in, get out of the water and seek shelter immediately.
- Understand Waves and Rip Currents- If on the beach, watch for dangerous waves and rip currents. If caught in a rip current, swim parallel to the shore. Once free of the current, swim toward the shore.
- Don’t Overestimate Your Swimming Ability –Everyone has limits, even the most experienced of swimmers.