Summer is almost here and that means that it is time to pull out your old swimsuits and head to the pools! May is National Water Safety Awareness Month and the CDC reported that there have been over 3,500 drowning deaths in the United States in the past year! It was also reported that one in five of those deaths was a child under the age of 14. That being said, the personal injury team at the Robinson and Henry Law Firm wanted to do their part in helping to prevent drowning accidents this Summer. We teamed up with some of the top swimming instructors and schools in the state of Colorado to better understand what people can do to prevent drowning accidents from happening to both themselves and those around them, here’s what they had to say.
- Actively supervise children whenever around water; remain vigilant even when a lifeguard is present.
- Swim in lifeguard-supervised beaches, lakes & pools.
- Always stay within arm’s reach of young children in bodies of water; don’t trust your child’s life with swim aids such as floaties.
- Always have your children wear a life a jacket.
- Talk to your children about proper swimming and safety skills.
- Learn proper swimming and safety skills before age 3.
As a long time aquatic professional, lifeguard trainer and swim teacher my main goal is to impart safety skills in, on and around the water. For every child that gets into trouble or drowns, there is an adult or someone who has turned their back even for just a minute. Early swim lessons and water adaptation (6 months & up) with a certified swim teacher is key to water safety and survival-it’s a life skill and can save a life.
Teach children water safety and swimming skills early, start no later than 3 years of age, the longer you wait the harder it is to work through the fear. Never use a lifeguard or flotation device as a substitute for supervision. Every parent should know infant, child and adult CPR & First Aid.
I’ve been doing this swimming thing for 45 years. The single most important thing is to watch your kids. Virtually every accident I’ve ever seen was a child getting into a pool without someone who should be watching noticing. Drowning IS NOT the screaming, arm waving event depicted on TV or the movies. Drowning is silent, kids simply slip under. Kids make noise. If they aren’t making noise, something is wrong. There is nothing that will keep kids safer than “eyes on”. DO NOT assume someone else is watching. DO NOT assume some sort of floatation device will take care of them.
The most shocking one to me was at the end of the summer when nobody was at the pool. Two ladies and one child walked in and set up lounge chairs within a few feet of the pool. The rules stated children under 8 years old MUST be directly supervised by an adult. The lifeguard told the ladies they needed to watch the little girl, not to let the little girl in the big pool without an adult and that he was going to take out the trash. A few minutes later the lifeguard came back to check on things. The ladies were sitting in their lounge chairs chatting away and not 4 feet away the little girl was on the bottom of the pool. The lifeguard jumped in to pick her up. She must have just gone down and was fine. Although the ladies were told to watch the little girl & that the little girl was not allowed in the big pool without an adult they were so busy talking they didn’t notice her getting in and sinking to the bottom. 2-3 minutes later and she would have been gone.
A great example of why swimming lessons save lives – I was fishing up at Wolford Res. There was a boat zipping around, pulling people on tubes, etc. The boat stopped to pick someone up. When the boat took off a little girl (9 years old) fell off the back of the boat. Apparently, nobody noticed she was gone for a couple of minutes. They turned around to look for her. She survived about 10 minutes without any problems because she knew to roll over on her back and back float. They found her alive and well. Without someone teaching her what to do when in trouble she would not have made it.
Judy Heumann at Swim Float Swim and Infant Aquatics has shared with this information PDF document with 10 Water Safety Tips. Please check it out below.
We’d like to thank everyone for all of their great contributions and their pursuit towards water safety not just in the month of May, but every single day of the year. Drowning is something that happens all the time and it can be prevented with the right knowledge and preventative measures. Help us prevent drowning accidents by sharing this post with your friends and family. If you or a loved one was the victim of a drowning accident, call the Denver Personal Injury Lawyers at the Robinson and Henry Law Firm for representation. Be sure to visit the two links to learn more about water safety and what you can do to prevent drowning accidents.