Staying Safe in the Water
CREATED May. 31, 2012
While playing in the water is fun, it can also be dangerous. Drownings are the number one cause of accidental deaths for kids 5 and younger. And unlike what we see in movies, children often drown in silence.
"Kids drown without a sound. It never looks like what we think - the splashing, the violent fighting against the water - it doesn't usually happen that way," said Helen Arbogast with the Los Angeles Children's Hospital.
Even if the child doesn't drown, these accidents often lead to brain damage. But drownings are avoidable if you follow the ABC's.
"A for adult supervision; B for barriers such as pool covers and gates; and C for CPR lessons and classes," says Helen.
And keep in mind that children don't just drown in pools.
"It only takes about 10 seconds in two inches of water for a child to drown. They happen in bathtubs; they can happen in toilets," Helen added.
This is especially important for toddlers.
"We're talking under the age of 5. Children that are mobile but don't really have the mental capacity to understand that the water's unsafe. Kids under the age of 3 are usually the ones that experience the bucket drownings because of their anatomy - their heads are so much larger than their bodies - that once their heads drop into the toilet they are unable to pull them back out. So having the lid locks will prevent those," said Helen.
In pools and open bodies of water, experts say stay away from floaties.
"Essentially the children's arms are above water, but their bodies and their faces are below water. Life vests are the only mechanism that we encourage," says Helen.
Also ditch your flat pool drain cover for a convex one. Those drains are often very strong but with the rounded cover it will be easier for a child to swim away from the drain's pull than with a flat cover. Another option? Swim lessons.
"If you have barriers in place, coupled with the right education and classes, children will be better off."