With all the swim vests, floaties and other safety gear available to strap on your child before they get in the water, it may be hard to believe the statistics recently reported by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) that drowning is the number one cause of unintentional injury-related death for children between the ages of one and four in this country and the third leading cause for those between five and 19.
The new report highlights some other facts about the risk of drowning for children and adolescents of all ages. For example, three-fourths of child and teen drowning victims are male. Infants and young children can drown in just a few inches of water. In fact, most infant drownings occur in large pails and bathtubs. They can also drown in toilets.
How can parents reduce the chances of drowning?
The AAP report emphasizes that there’s no one intervention to prevent drowning. It notes that multiple layers of protection are required. These include:
- Getting your child swimming lessons early – preferably around their first birthday
- Placing fencing at least 4 ft. high with lockable gates around all pools and hot tubs
- Not allowing your child (or one in your care) unsupervised access to pools, hot tubs, open water or bathtubs (for young children)
As one of the study’s authors says, “Supervision is absolutely essential but it’s not going to be enough. One thing we do know is that children who have had some training in water safety are less likely to drown than those who have not.”
The report’s lead author notes that just listening while your kids are in the water isn’t enough. She says, “Parents may expect to hear a child splashing or crying if they are in trouble in the water, but often that is just not the case….Drowning is quick and silent….”
What can you do if your child was injured in a pool?
As our children get older, they’re not always within our sight. That means they may get access to a pool at a hotel or apartment complex that isn’t locked or go swimming in a neighbor’s pool with a drain cover that’s not properly secured. If your child has been seriously injured or worse in a drowning incident due to someone else’s actions or negligence, it’s imperative that you seek justice for your child and compensation for your losses.