Distractions and drowning go hand-in-hand. Swimming lessons and CPR go a long way in helping to encourage water safety, but far too often all of that preparedness is wasted by a few distracted moments. For parents especially, the struggle to overcome distractions can be a critical safety step.

Understanding Distractions and Drowning

Over the years, we’ve spoken about the dangers of distractions and drowning on our blog and directly with our communities on Facebook and Instagram. There have been numerous studies done about the rates and causes of drowning danger. Today, we’re exploring information from a new study by UNSW Sydney, James Cook University and Royal Life Saving Society. The study may be based in Australia, but surely this information is important for every person to know.

Here’s the study’s lead researcher, Dr. Amy Peden, discussing her work:

In a nutshell, the study discovered that a parent being distracted around the home was a common cause for fatal child drownings. Stopping to complete a minor chore can be just enough time for your little one to sneak outside to the pool area. Even if it seems like your chore will only take a minute, it’s always possible that it will take longer than you expect.

Here are just a few of the study’s findings:

  • 77 percent of drownings occurred less than five minutes after the child was last seen. Often, the victim was last seen sleeping in bed. Remember, if you ever lose sight of your child, always check the pool area first! Even if the tyke isn’t out there, it’s easily one of the most dangerous places they can be found. Better to check first than be sorry later.
  • Of all the recorded distractions and drownings, 39 percent occurred when the parents or guardians were doing chores. This includes common housework inside the home. For parents, it is important to keep your young child within your line of sight at all times. When supervising children, make sure they are far from the water, including the bathtub, before beginning any work.
  • 18 percent of the drownings occurred when the supervisor was socializing. For instance, it is easy to lose focus at a pool party. Talking with the other adults while your eyes should be on the swimmers is a serious problem. For this reason, it is imperative to practice active supervision. Otherwise, distractions and drownings can become a serious risk.
  • Similarly, nine percent of drowning accidents happened as a result of the supervising adult being busy on the telephone.

Avoid the Risk

You can read the full report for further information, but the point should be rather clear. When it comes to distractions and drowning, it doesn’t matter if you’re by the pool, the ocean or even the bathtub. A momentary lapse in attention can have fatal consequences.

That said, it is impossible for any person to never ever become distracted. Luckily, there are still ways for adults to help limit the risks of drowning. Much of this danger can be mitigated by installing multiple layers of protection in your home and around your pool area. For example, a properly installed pool fence can provide a barrier to the water, just in case your little ones sneak away. When combined with safety measures such as pool alarms, they can create a tight knit level of security for your home.