May is National Drowning Prevention Awareness Month.
Kenna Sluder, an Infant Swimming Resource (ISR) Instructor said, “Often times in drowning, you’re talking moments in between life and death situations.” Sluder explained that drowning is the leading cause of unintentional death for children ages one to four.
There are several things that parents and caregivers can do to prevent drowning. “The first is constant parental supervision. That’s the most important thing, someone who has their eyes completely focused on the water, we like to call them water watchers, where you kind of take shifts of 10 or 15 minutes where that person is dedicated to watching the water. There’s no phones, there’s no distractions because aquatic emergencies can happen in moments, so we need to have someone with their eyes always on the water,” Sluder stated.
If you have a pool at home, having a fence or cover around your pool and alarms or bells on any door accessible to the pool are ways to keep children from easily getting to the water.
Sluder explained that ISR lessons “are focused on self-rescue, so that if a child ever did reach the water, it would give them the few moments to swim, flip over, and float on their back, so that they have access to air until an adult can come get them.” At Sluder’s swim lessons, she has her students swim in regular clothes because in many cases, drownings happen by accident when children aren’t even swimming.
Getting your child in swim lessons early is another step in preventing drownings. “The Academy of Pediatrics has changed their stance on swim lessons to start as early as age one just because of the need and the rink that it is to children. If you can find a high-quality swim lesson that starts at one that’s based in science and self-rescue, I think it’s amazing,” Sluder said.
One common misconception about drowning is that it’s loud and noticeable, but Sluder said in many cases, it’s 100% silent.
It’s important to remember that drownings don’t just happen at the pool. Someone can drown in any body of water, including bathtubs.
For more information about drownings and ISR lessons, click here.