Each year about 4,000 Americans drown. Approximately one-quarter of those who drown are under the age of 14. Drowning can be quiet. The misconception is that when someone is drowning they are yelling and thrashing in the water. Water safety experts say many, if not most, drownings are eerily quiet, which is why they can occur in a crowded lake or pool with no one noticing before it’s too late. Some safety tips to follow are:
- An adult watching children in the water is a potential lifesaver and needs to be as alert and attentive as any lifeguard
- Do not dive into unknown water. Neck and head injuries are a major hazard around the water.
- Do not drink alcoholic beverages around the water. Unlike car passengers, drunken boat passengers are at the same drowning risk as the driver.
- There should be a lifejacket for everyone in any kind of recreational boat. Make sure the lifejacket is accessible and the right size.
- The key to lifesaving is speed. Resuscitation efforts (CPR) should begin as soon as possible. Even as the person is being pulled from the water.
- Check water conditions before you head to the lake.
- Plastic and foam flotation devices should not be used as anything more than the toys they are.
- Have safety layers around your pool. This means:
- Access doors to the pool area with high locks are a secondary layer of protection.
- Alarms on access doors are another layer of protection.
- A pool safety barrier (fence) separating the pool from your home and all access doors and entrances is one more layer of protection.
- Water survival training for a child when he is capable of crawling or walking to the pool.
- CPR and your knowledge of rescue techniques are a final layer of protection should there be an accident.