Swimming Safety for Children

It’s that time of year again where families are enjoying the sun, the waves and each other. Summertime activities for families often include spending time at the pool or the beach as a refreshing getaway from the daily grind.

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What can be a wonderful way to spend time with your loved ones can turn into a traumatic event in a flash. Nearly 3,000 children annually are treated for accidents that occur in water related activities. Of those figures nearly 400 result in death and 50% of child survivors of submersion incidents are left with brain damage.

75% of children who are treated for submersion incidents are under the age of 3 years old. Statistics also show that over 60% of the victims were under adult supervision in a familiar area such as their own back yard.

Drowning accidents happen quickly. On average, a child who has drowned was unsupervised for less than 5 minutes. This means, the time it takes to glance at your cell phone or take call is enough time for a child to drown. Every second counts!

Child drowning is a silent death. Small children will not be splashing about or calling out for help. You will not be alerted if a child is in trouble.

If you will be spending time near water, please remember these important safety tips for children:

  • NEVER leave a child unsupervised by a pool or water for even a moment and do not assume flotation accessories, safety devices or life jackets will do the job alone if you step away for a moment.
  • ALWAYS have young children or inexperienced swimmers war a US Coast430d12aceb248f1272a55a9c9db0350b--kids-swimming-swimming-pools.jpg Guard Approved Life Jacket
  • DO NOT allow a child in a pool without an adult also in the pool.
  • Install a fence or other barrier around the pool. If the house is part of the barrier, the doors leading from the house to the pool should be protected with an alarm. The fence or barrier should be at least 4 feet high and have no foot- or handholds that could help a child climb it. Openings in the barrier should be less than 4” in diameter. Also, the gate and barrier should have no opening greater than 1/2 inch within 18 inches of the latch release mechanism. This prevents a young child from reaching through the gate and releasing the latch.
  • Above Ground Pools should have steps or ladders leading to the pool disabled, locked or removed when the pool is not in use.
  • Keep toys away from the pool when not in use and never leave or allow use of items such as tricycles or other riding toys near the pool.
  • Don’t assume if there is a Lifeguard on duty you don’t need to keep a constant eye on your child. Lifeguards are watching everyone and usually very busy. All people in the area are their responsibility so their focus must be constantly shifting and we cannot stress enough that it only takes a few seconds for a child to slip underneath the water and silently suffer.
  • At beaches or lakes where there is a lifeguard present, be sure to check with the guard to find out about the current water conditions. Unlike the calm waters of a swimming pool, the ocean has dangers such as currents, tides, or undertow.
  • Before you go to a water park, make sure there is a qualified lifeguard on duty at all times, be aware of which rides are appropriate for your child based on the age and size of your child, and review the rules of the water park in detail with your child making sure he/she understands.
  • At lakes and ponds remember the surface likely has jagged rocks, broken bottles and hazardous trash as well as vastly changing depths from the shore to just a few feet out.

KidsPlayingInLakeSummer-1464474088-1.jpgWhenever a child is missing, check the pool first. Every second counts! If you find a child in the water, instantly get him/her out and call to others for help. Make sure someone has called 9-1-1 immediately.  Check to make sure the child’s air passages are clear. If the child is not breathing, start CPR if you are trained to do so. When the emergency number is called, follow the instructions the emergency operators provide. If you suspect the child has suffered a neck injury, such as from diving, keep the child on his/her back and brace the neck and shoulders with your hands and forearms to help keep the neck from moving to minimize further injury until emergency help arrives. This type of immobilization is best done by someone who is trained in the technique. Keep the child still and speak in calm tones to keep the child comforted. Continue to watch for adequate breathing.

For more safety tips and advice regarding children’s water safety, visit Kid’s Health for Parents. For tips about sun exposure safety, be sure to check out our previous blog “Keeping Summer Fun and Safe” and be sure to follow the Close Range Safety Tips blog year round for useful information.

Close Range Safety Training Academy recommends that everyone receive First Aid and CPR training for adults, children and infants.  We offer multiple American Red Cross courses that can aid in saving lives and preventing injuries.  To book your training, please visit www.closerangetraining.com.

April is Child Abuse Prevention Month, Please Don’t Look Away!👊🚫

Did you know that April is Child Abuse Prevention month? It’s a topic that many of us do not like to address because it’s very harsh reality to accept. But, unfortunately, it is a reality that affects an average of six million children annually. That’s a staggering number!

The brain develops in response to experiences with caregivers, family and the community quickly during the early developmental stages of infancy and childhood. Development is directly linked to the quality and quantity of those experiences. Repeated exposure to stressful or abusive events as well as neglect can affect the brain’s stress response and over time a child may react as if danger is always present in their environment regardless of actual circumstances.

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Awareness of the signs of child abuse is your first step in saving a child.

Here are some key signs to look for:

BEHAVIORAL SIGNS:

  • Failure to thrive socially or academically
  • Learning and/or Speech disorders
  • Delayed physical, emotional or intellectual development
  • Discomfort with physical contact or difficulty connecting with others
  • Lags in physical, emotional or intellectual development
  • Behavior extremes, such as appearing overly compliant and passive or very demanding and aggressive.
  • Increased fear or avoidance of a specific person and/or situation
  • Difficulty expressing thoughts and feelings
  • Changes in eating and sleeping patterns
  • Bedwetting
  • Anxiety and/or excessive worrying
  • Low self-esteem
  • Uncharacteristic obedience or perfectionism
  • Strong feelings of shame or guilt
  • Programmed statements or behaviors
  • Knowledge of or interest in sexual behaviors that are not age appropriate

PHYSICAL SIGNS:

  • Bruises, welts or swelling
  • Sprains or fractures
  • Burns
  • Lacerations or abrasions
  • Frequent physical complaints, such as stomachaches and headaches
  • Fatigue
  • Difficulty in walking or sitting
  • Torn, stained or bloody clothing
  • Pain or itching in the genital area; bruises or bleeding in the external genital area
  • Sexually transmitted infections or diseasesTheir-lifes-stop-child-abuse-28564802-599-775.jpg

Research has found that children exposed to any form of abuse, if left unaddressed or ignored, are at an increased risk for emotional and behavioral problems throughout their life and into adulthood.

Depending on your role in the child’s life, you may or not be privy to prevention but turning a blind eye to the signs of child abuse is never the path to choose. Identifying the signs may be an uncomfortable position to be depending on your relationship with the child, but you can protect your position by being anonymous. There are many sources that can help you help a child, such as Child Help’s national hotline 1-800-4-A-CHILD (1-800-422-4453) or you can do an internet search for sources in your area.

We encourage you to visit the Center for Disease Control and Prevention to learn more.