Newsletter July – August 2015: Pediatrician’s Corner – Dr. Pradeep Gidwani
Drowning Prevention Awareness Season runs from May 26th through September 1st. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), drowning accidents are the leading cause of injury and deaths among children under 5. Drowning is a silent killer and it can be quick. Toddlers between one and four years of age most commonly drown in swimming pools. However, many children in this age group also drown in ponds, rivers and lakes. It is important to know that children can drown in water as little as one inch high and even children who know how to swim may drown a few feet from safety.
This summer, you and your children can be better prepared for water activities with these simple tips:
- Home swimming pools should be surrounded by a professionally installed fence that prevents a child from getting to the pool from the house.
- Gates should be self-closing and self-latching, with the latch out of reach by small children.
- Additional protection includes safety covers, alarms on doors and motion-detection devices.
- Parents, caregivers and pool owners should learn CPR and keep a telephone and equipment approved by the US Coast Guard (life preserves, life jackets, shepherd’s crook) at poolside.
- Enroll your children in swim classes, which also discuss pool safety, but remember that swim lessons should not be considered as a way to drown-proof your child.
- For newborn infants and children, practice “touch supervision”; that means that a supervising adult should be within an arm’s length of the child with full attention focused on the child at all times when he or she is in or near water.
- Never leave children alone or in the care of another child, while in or near bathtubs, pools, spas, or wading pools, or near irrigation ditches or other open bodies of water.
- The supervising adult should not be engaged in distracting activities such as talking on a telephone, socializing, or tending to household chores and should rather have his or her eyes on the children at all times.
- Set water safety rules for the whole family before entering the water.
- Keep toys away from the pool, when the pool or spa is not in use, to prevent young children from falling in after a toy.