June 4, 2022
Mountaineer News | The Editors
BUCKHANNON, WV - With the unofficial start to summer, and when it comes to swim time, experts encourage parents to become "water watchers."
Drowning is the top unintentional cause of death for children ages one to four and the second-leading cause among kids ages five to 14. Nearly 70% of drowning deaths occur between May and August. The most important pool safety measure to implement is ensuring an adult is actively watching children at all times. If there are multiple adults around the pool, take 15-minute shifts so that adult knows: no phone, no book, no conversations; they are keeping an eye on all the children. That is their time and their only job while they're there. With infants and toddlers, an adult should be in the water within arm's reach. Most drownings involving kids under age four happen at home pools, so experts encourage the use of alarms and secure pool fences to keep curious little ones away. While a drowning is traumatic, it does not always look dramatic. Parents always think that there's a lot of splashing and yelling when a child is drowning, and that is usually not the case. It's not a loud event. It's very silent and happens quickly. Swimming lessons for children as soon as they are developmentally ready should be considered as well. This way they are comfortable around water, respect the water and have those basic swimming skills.
Parents should always ensure at least one adult is present and current CPR credentials obtained. It's just a great tool that could be helpful. There has been a roughly 38% drop in drowning deaths over the past two decades, which experts attribute to greater awareness and education about prevention and water safety.