The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), an organization dedicated to the wellbeing of children and young adults, has recently updated its recommendations for helping to prevent drowning.
These recommendations, available in its Pediatrics publication, fall in line with our mission here at Life Saver Pool Fence, where we are committed to informing our readers about water safety. Today, let’s take a look at the AAP’s recent update:
Drowning: a Leading Cause of Death for Children and Adolescents
In 2017, nearly 1,000 children died from drowning and 8,700 visited a hospital emergency room because of a drowning event. Toddlers and teens were at the highest risk.
To that point, drowning is the leading cause of injury-related deaths among toddlers aged one through four. Kids are nosey, inquisitive and adventurous, and many of these deaths occur when the child unexpectedly gains access to a body of water.
Drowning also poses a significant risk for teens. In fact, it is the second leading cause of unintentional deaths in children through the age of 15. Many of these deaths were caused by the use of alcohol and/or swimming in open waters. As you can imaging, working to prevent drowning is critical for everyone.
Encouraging More Discussion About Helping to Prevent Drowning
The updated AAP recommendations are intended to “refocus the attention of parents and physicians on one of the leading causes of death among children,” according to a released statement.
With this in mind, the AAP presented a panel discussion at an annual leadership conference. This occurred in tandem with its updated report. Along with discussions about trends in preventable child injuries, the panel addressed the need for pediatricians to have a dialog about water safety with families during their visits.
New Water Safety Recommendations
The organization’s updated recommendations touch on several important topics. Here are five takeaways to remember when you and your children are near the water:
Swimming lessons can benefit children as young as the tender age of one. This is especially true when the swim instructions include “water competency.” This aspect teaches the ability to get out if they are having trouble in the water. Making sure that your kids are prepared in case of an emergency is always a smart move.
Create a Safe Environment
Since many pool-drowning deaths occur when the child was unexpectedly in the water, creating an environment that prevents their access to the pool is paramount. The AAP encourage taking safety measures such installing as a four-sided pool fence around the entire pool area. Obviously, we’re huge advocates of this idea as well!
Never Leave Children Alone
Drowning happens quickly, so never leave children alone near the water. This applies to the pool, lake and ocean, but it also includes bathtubs, toilets and any other accessible water. Drowning can occur in just a few inches of water, so drain the tub after bath time and empty all buckets and wading pools immediately after use.
Children and teens should wear life jackets when near open bodies of water, like the ocean or a lake. This can mean the difference between life and death. To ensure that the jacket is safe, make sure it is U.S. Coast Guard approved!
We talk a lot about “active supervision” on the Life Saver Pool Fence blog. Similarly, the AAP urges parents to always have a supervising adult present when children are in the water. When it’s swim time for infants or toddlers, the adult should be in the water with them, remaining within arm’s length.