Last month a 5-year-old boy fell into a creek near a playground.
A young man about-to-become-a-hero was standing on a bridge over the creek. He saw the child being swept downstream in the fast-flowing current. He jumped in.
A person close by saw what was happening and called 911.
The boy was in the water 2-4 minutes, and when rescued, received CPR. He started breathing in the ambulance. He—and the brave young man who saved him—were lucky! It doesn’t often turn out that way—for either one of them!
In the risk management world, they call it a “near miss.” Others might call it a “close call.” But for a parent with a small child, there are no words.
No matter what you call the dangers of drowning, they are real and can happen when you least expect it.
We have all heard how to mitigate the possibilities of drowning for children, but since drowning is the leading cause of death in children ages 1-4, I think we should list them again—and take them very seriously because this tragedy is 100% preventable!
–Have children wear a real life jacket—not just one of those noodles or floatie things.
–Give them swimming lessons as soon as they are ready. Swim lessons won’t drown-proof a child, particularly a really young one. But they can be an important layer of protection.
— If you are a pool owner, be sure you have a four-sided fence with a self-latching and self-closing gate that totally isolates the pool from the house and yard.
–Take seriously the “I’ll watch the kids in the pool” thing. We all say that, but do we really understand the responsibility that goes with it? When everyone is “watching,” but no one is taking responsibility, it is an accident waiting to happen.
How about each adult takes a 15-minute shift as “water watcher” and eliminate all other distractions (phone, food, conversations) and make frequent visual contact with each child in the water.
For a beginning swimmer, an adult needs to be within arm’s length of that child.
These water safety expectations can increase the chance for a safe summer for your kids.
— Realize that drowning doesn’t look like what we think it does, or what we expect it to. It is often silent because the person drowning can’t spare any breath to make noise or call out for help—and can’t splash around to get our attention. It can all happen in just a few seconds.
–Understand that 70% of children who drown were not expected to be in the pool or water area at the time of the drowning. The attraction of water can make a child wake from a nap early or leave a gathering unexpectedly to go explore this fascination—and no one knows until it is too late.
A drowning of a child is everybody’s tragedy. We think, “this could never happen to my child,” but there are dozens of people who have thought this same way and still lost a child to drowning.
We at Buddy Packs plead with you to keep your children safe around water this summer and create some great memories. We love all of them!
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