Water Safety Tips
June 16th, 2018 | Brian Q. McDonnell
The recent passing of Olympic Athlete Bode Miller’s toddler daughter is a sad reminder of the hazards of swimming pools and children. Unfortunately, Miller’s 19-month-old daughter did not survive a fall in a neighbor’s swimming pool and she drowned. Losing their little girl has been devastating to Bode Miller and his wife, Morgan Beck.
Sadly, this is not uncommon. In the United States, drownings are the leading cause of injury deaths for children ages 1 to 14. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 3 children die and 15 children are sent to the Emergency Department every day as a result of drowning or near-drowning accidents. Injuries can often include brain damage resulting in long-term disabilities, ranging from memory problems to permanent loss of basic functions.
Naturally, when we are enjoying time at the beach or by the pool, injuries are not on the top of our minds. However, accidents do happen. “It is heartbreaking when we hear news of the loss of a child. We want to make sure you are aware of a few precautions you can take that could help keep you and your family a little more safe,” says Attorney Brian McDonnell, Personal Injury Attorney, HKQ Law.
- Never leave your children unsupervised. We all know how quickly little feet can move. In an instant, they can be out of view. Whether you are in your own backyard, at a public pool, a lake or a beach, always make sure there is a responsible adult monitoring the kids.
- Enroll children in swimming lessons at a very early age. Risk of drowning is decreased by as much as 88% when young children, ages 1-4 take swimming lessons.
- Learn CPR. Check with your local Red Cross for classes. If it has been a while, take a refresher course.
- If you have a pool, be sure it is secured with appropriate barriers. Be sure to have a latch installed that is secured high enough that kids can’t reach, as well as a gate that opens away from the pool.
- Consider safety alarms. Install an alarm on a gate or consider an underwater alarm.
- If a child is missing, always check the pool first. Every second counts.
- Children can drown in as little as one inch of water. Always drain portable and baby pools.
- Remove toys and floats from pools when they are not in use. Keep them stored out of sight.
- Keep a safety kit handy, including scissors to cut hair or clothing that might be caught in a drain or around pool edges. Lifesaving equipment such as rings and reaching poles should be kept near pools.
- Know the difference between floatation devices, buoyancy vests and lifesaving jackets. Choose the appropriate equipment for your circumstances. Additional information can be found here: https://www.safekids.org/sites/default/files/documents/how-to-choose-the-right-life_0.pdf
- Know your limits, and especially your kids’ limits. Cold water, currents, and other dangerous conditions can challenge even the most seasoned swimmers.
Above all, stay alert and never leave your children unsupervised. Knowledge is key when it comes to safety in and around water. Educating your kids from a very young age and staying informed can lead to a lifetime of healthy safety habits.