Summertime Tips – Drowning Prevention

Texas Summer means Texas Sun and Texas HOT.

When the temperatures go up, our kids will want to submerse themselves in a pool to cool down.  Here is a reminder to keep our summer safe:

Since accidental drowning is one of the top causes of injurious death in children ages 1-4 years old and teen boys, there are several evidence-based strategies that will reduce the risk of drowning.  These strategies include barriers, survival swim lessons, use of life jackets, supervision, and training in CPR.

Supervision is the most important among those ages 1-4 years and includes not only the swimming pool, but also hot tubs/spas, bathtubs, natural bodies of water, and standing water in homes – such as buckets and toilets.  In the event of a gathering around the pool, it is advisable to have a specific person designated as the “water watcher.”  This individual may be certified and hired to watch the pool, or may be an attendee of the gathering that will refrain from conversation and alcohol consumption while designated to watching the water.

In the teen age group, the risk for drowning is highest in natural water settings, such as rivers, lakes, and sea water.  The reason is attributed to overestimation of their swimming skills, underestimation of dangerous situations, impulsive behaviors, and substance use- particularly alcohol.

The third high-risk group are children with seizure disorders and autism spectrum disorder. For children with seizures, it is recommended that they shower instead of bathe and swim only at locations where there is a lifeguard present.  For children with autism spectrum disorder, they tend to wander away and therefore become lost to supervision.  Having a constant swim/pool buddy for a child with autism may prevent their wandering as a cause for fatal drowning.

At West Plano Pediatrics, we wish that all of our families will be safe around the pool and other water activities this summer.

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