Unfortunately, drowning is still one of the leading causes of accidental death among young children. This is partly due to a lack of understanding from the parent about general water safety. It’s so important that you have a base knowledge of different types of water and how to look out for possible dangers.
Now, we’re not out to scare everyone. However, with a better understanding of water and what to do if you or your child gets into difficulty, hopefully you will be in a much better position to not only help but prevent drowning.
Did you know that, in the US, more children (under the age of 5) die from drowning than traffic accidents? This figure is one of many surprising statistics reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It’s not just in public pools either. Drowning can happen at home in the bath, near lakes or rivers and on holiday, by the sea.
Just a few weeks ago, our family decided to rent a small yacht and take some family on a boat trip. We didn’t know what to expect but since our kids are great swimmers, we felt confident that all would go well. It did, we had a great time, but there was a moment, in the water that I felt our lives were in danger. I felt panic creeping in and this could have easily gone the wrong way. Our boat driver got as close to shore as possible and when we arrived, we swam out to the shore with no issues. None of us could reach the floor but there were no waves and it was so close, we made it just fine.
On the way back however, going to the boat, it was a different ball game. Our boat guide expected it to be easier to get back to the boat but it was actually harder. My kids and I were swimming to the boat but then a jet ski went by causing a lot of unexpected waves. We were already at a point where we could not turn back, and could not reach the ground. I told my kids to please swim towards the ladder of the boat and keep going until they could touch it. The panic lasted less than 30 seconds but no matter how brief, it was super frightening. We could have all drowned and never again will I trust in our swimming skills. Especially in moving water! The ocean is not the same as a pool. Always bring life jackets and USE them when dealing with the ocean, no matter how good a swimmer you are.
Remember these tips to help you:
- Never leave children unsupervised in a pool or ocean. Regardless of whether they know how to swim, you must respect water, as it’s a beast full of beauty that can be deceiving.
- Jumping and running around pools is fun but don’t be reckless. People can fall and hit their heads or if diving into a shallow part of a pool, can cause serious injury, including paralysis.
- Avoid any pool outlets or electrical lighting under the water. Remind kids that some pools can give off electrical currents and should not play with these things.
- Talk to your family, especially children about rip tide current. If you’ve experienced this and survived, you know how dangerous and scary this can be.
- Remember the ocean can go from shallow to deep very quickly. Be aware of where you and your family are about to enter and familiarize yourself with the situation. Remember that moving water is tricky and not to be treated lightly.