Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Realities of Water Safety

Water is fun! There’s a whole lot of developmental exploration and play that takes place in a bathtub or swimming pool. As we all know, however, water and safety are two words that go back to back.
As we’d expect, babies who are under 12 months of age are most likely to drown in a bathtub, toilet or a bucket. Babies can drown in just a teeny bit of water and can happen in seconds.

Drowning is the second cause of unintentional injury-related death among children between the ages of 1 and 14 (2005-U.S. Centers for Disease Control). In 2005, drowning accounted for 30% of unintentional deaths in children ages 1 to 4 years old. In University of Chicago economist Dr. Steven Levitt’s book “Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything”, the professor says that children are 100 times more likely to die in a given year from swimming pool accidents than gun accidents.

Here are some sensible reminders on keeping babies and toddlers safe around water:

  1. Supervise vigilantly. Although it’s tempting to listen to music or read a magazine by the pool or bathtub, keep your eyes on baby all the time.
  2. Take a CPR (cardio-pulmonary resuscitation) class. Your local library or community center likely has information on CPR classes that are affordable or even free, Online CPR courses are also available, although One Sassy Doctor strongly recommends an in-person, hands-on experience.
  3. Make certain that adults who are supervising children in pools know how to swim! Sounds like common sense, but a smart reminder especially as you evaluate potential caretakers for a child.
  4. Bath seats are not bath babysitters. Neither are noodles or swim rafts. There is no product in existence that replaces supervisory vigilance around water.
  5. Any pool you visit should have a fence. The fence should be four sided and secure. Decline the invite if there is no fence—that’s that!
  6. The beach has the same hazards as bathtubs and pools. An innocent sand castle adventure can result in tragedy if a wave comes. Be just as vigilant beach side as you are pool side! The same applies for boating.