Drowning is one of the most common causes of death for children between the ages of zero and four. According to a report from Safe Kids Worldwide, an estimated 800 children drown in the United States each year. Beyond that, two-thirds of drowning deaths occur between May and August.
Tracking the Danger: Why Two-Thirds of Drowning Deaths Occur Between May and August
As we’ve established, two-thirds of drowning deaths occur between May and August. That makes sense since, in most of the country, this is typically “pool season.” Kids and adults alike are eager to take a dip, either in the pool, hot tub or ocean.
Swimming is both an excellent exercise and a great time. That said, it is important to beware a false sense of security. Most parents think that the risk of drowning ends when their child exits the pool or reaches the shoreline. However, as we mentioned in a recent article, many drownings occur right under a guardian’s nose.
The truth is, drowning does not really resemble what we see in movies or tv shows. There is very little thrashing or screaming. Instead, drowning is often quick and quiet. It can happen when parents are not remotely prepared for danger to rear its head. Often, drowned children had been seen just five minutes prior.
Drowning Can Happen at Any Time
While two-thirds of drowning deaths occur between May and August, that doesn’t mean that we should drop our guard outside of this window of time. Part of the reason drowning is so scary is because it can happen to anyone at any time.
Drowning risks can vary by age. For our regular readers, our monthly drowning stats check-ins can attest to that. However, as we’ve seen, young children are still the most vulnerable. They should be watched as attentively as possible, especially when they are near the water.
That said, a curious child can find their way to the pool even when they are thought to be playing inside the house. Even the most attentive parent cannot watch all the time. When it comes to water safety, there is no substitute for parent supervision. To help, that’s where layers of protection come in handy.
Install Layers of Protection
Beyond active supervision, adding additional layers of protection to the home can greatly increase the safety of a pool area. They can bless parents and guardians with the most important element in a potential drowning scenario: time.
Life Saver Pool Fence recommends these six layers of protection prescribed by the Consumer Product Safety Commission to supplement parent supervision:
- High locks should be installed on all doors and windows leading to the pool.
- Add alarms on the doors and windows that access the pool.
- A pool safety fence should isolate the pool from the home. This fence should be at least four feet in height. For even better defense, the fence should include a self-closing, self latching gate.
- Additional alarms can be a massive help. To this end, install an alarm in the pool and use a personal alarm as well, like the Safety Turtle. The Safety Turtle is worn on the child’s body and sounds if submerged in water.
- Swimming lessons can start as early as you and your pediatrician feel comfortable. Infant swim instructors start training babies to roll over and float earlier than you might think.
- Learning CPR is crucial. Ideally there should always be multiple trained adults on duty. Being capable of properly performing CPR while paramedics are on the way can literally mean the difference between life and death.
Each and every layer of protection added can help to significantly reduce the possibility of a drowning incident. The great number of steps implemented, the better.
Of those steps, pool safety fencing is arguably the most effective at preventing fatal drowning incidents. It physically prevents access to the pool, making your pool safer for younger swimmers and even curious pets.