Tips to Prevent Drownings
Drownings rank behind
only motor-vehicle accidents as the leading cause of death among
youngsters in middle childhood. Most often, these tragedies
occur when children swim without adequate adult supervision. In
most cases, these children (and their parents) have
overestimated their swimming ability and their knowledge of
are some guidelines to keep your middle-years child safe in and near the
Make sure your youngster (older than age 4) learns how to swim from
an experienced and qualified instructor.
Never allow your child to swim alone or play by or in water away
from the watchful eye of an adult. Ideally, this adult should be
trained in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). Also, teach your
child to use the buddy system even when swimming with large groups
not allow your child to engage in horseplay that might result in
Prohibit your child from diving unless someone has already
determined the depth of the water and checked for underwater
not permit your child to rely on an air mattress, inner tube or
inflatable toy as a life preserver. If these devices deflate, or
your child slips off them, he could be in serious trouble.
When your youngster is old enough - usually by his high school years
- he should learn life-saving skills such as CPR, taught in most
cities through community agencies or the American Red Cross.
younger children, water can be especially hazardous. To ensure your
child's safety, keep the rules above in mind and also remember that even
in a shallow toddler's pool, an adult, preferably one who knows CPR,
should watch all children. The
APA does not recommend them for
children younger than age 4 for two reasons:
You may be lulled into being less cautious because you think your
child can swim.
Young children who are repeatedly immersed in water may swallow so
much of it that they develop water intoxication. This can result in
convulsions, shock and even death.
If you do enroll a child
younger than 4 years old in a swimming program, use it as an opportunity
to enjoy playing in the water together. Follow YMCA guidelines that
forbid submersion of young children and encourage parents to participate
in all activities. And remember that even a child who knows how to swim
needs to be watched constantly.