While the water appears warm and inviting, it is host to unseen dangers. Every day, around 10 people unintentionally drown. Drowning is the sixth leading cause ofc accidental death for people of all ages. Children ages 1 to 14 have the highest rate of drowning deaths, and more than one in five deaths from drowning are children under the age of 14.
Supervision is key. Children in water, whether in a pool or a bathtub, should always be supervised by a responsible adult. Drowning is a silent killer. Children who are drowning may not be able to call for help because they are expending all their energy to keep their head above water. All children should have some form of swimming lessons. Studies have shown that formal swimming lessons reduce the risk of children drowning by 88 percent.
Sometimes supervision is not enough. Among children ages 1 to 4, most drowning deaths occur at home. Most children who die in home swimming pools were out of site for only five minutes. Barriers such as pool fences can prevent children from accessing the pool while out of site. There is significant reduction in the risk of children drowning with a four-sided pool fence. Adults should also invest in CPR training. In the time spent waiting for an ambulance to arrive, CPR can save someone’s life.
Adults, alcohol and swimming can be a dangerous mix. In half of adult drowning deaths, alcohol is a contributing factor. Alcohol adversely affects balance, coordination and judgment, all necessary faculties for swimming safely. Alcohol’s effects are heightened by sun exposure and heat.
Panter’s Pointers for Swim Safety:
- Supervision — never leave children alone in the water.
- Consider investing in a pool fence if you have a swimming pool at home.
- Learn to swim.
- Learn CPR; you might save a life.
- Avoid alcohol or drink moderately and responsibly.