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Teaching Children to Swim may Prevent Drowning

Kathleen Blanchard's picture

Teaching young children and toddlers how to swim is essential to good parenting. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2005 there were 3,582 fatal unintentional drownings in the United States. One in four drownings involved children age 14 or younger. Children who drown and survive can face a lifetime of disability from learning disabilities and memory problems. Parents should teach children to swim to help avoid the tragedy of drowning.

Parents who teach their children to swim give them an extra chance to survive. Avoiding drowning tragedies in children can be accomplished through safety, constant supervision, and teaching children to swim.

Fatal drowning is the second leading cause of unintentional injury and death among children age one to fourteen years. Drowning happens in children who have been absent for less than five minutes Drowning often occurs in residential swimming pools, where children merely topple into the water. Further information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention tells us that both parents are usually caring for children when they drown.

Constant supervision of children is challenging. By teaching your child to swim, you can reduce the risk of drowning.

The child seen in the video learned survival skills from Infant Swimming Resource (ISR). Founder of ISR, Dr. Harvey Barnett, teaches infants to swim, beginning at age 6 months, using non-verbal teaching techniques.

All parents should learn CPR in case of accidental drowning. All children should be constantly supervised. Teaching your child to swim can help in the fight to prevent the tragedy of a child found in the water, having become the victim of accidental drowning.

Parent can do much to prevent childhood drownings. Teaching your child to swim is one way to decrease the risk of a child drowning.

If you have a residential pool, make certain you have a fence, or other barrier to keep your child safe if they wander. According to a Cochrane review, four sided fencing in residential and public pools significantly reduces drowning deaths in children under age 14. The study concluded, "Legislation should require fencing of both newly constructed and existing pools and include enforcement provisions, in order to be effective", an important note for communities with pools and for parents with children at risk for drowning.

Pool time with children mandates the use of a personal flotation device. Wear a flotation device yourself, to teach your child why they are important – parents set examples for children, including safety.

Swimming lessons, constant supervision, barriers such as fences and locks around residential pools, and learning CPR, can help parents keep children safe from drowning fatalities and disabilitiy from non-fatal drownings.

Water-Related Injuries: Fact Sheet
Pool fencing for preventing drowning in children

Written by Kathleen Blanchard, RN.

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