Along with this week’s posts about health and safety and staying safe in the summer heat, comes a repost about ensuring you are safe IN THE WATER. The images about Water Safety go viral every summer season and I’m hoping they go viral again this week, at least in Switzerland, in anticipation of this weekend’s hot weather (after a week of rain I’m sure everyone is desperate to get out into the water!).
Like I say every summer, let the image on the right remind us all that drowning, or what we think of as drowning, REALLY DOESN’T LOOK like drowning at all. The Instinctive Drowning Response – so named by Francesco A. Pia, Ph.D., is what people do to avoid actual or perceived suffocation in the water. There is very little splashing, no waving, and no yelling or calls for help of any kind.
Drowning, is Silent, Unmoving, easily missed.
It is easily missed: it is the number two cause of accidental death in children age 15 and under (just behind vehicle accidents) and of the approximately 750 children who will drown next year, about 375 of them will do so within 25 yards of a parent or other adult. In ten percent of those drownings, the adult will actually watch them do it, having no idea it is happening (source: CDC).
So stay close to your kids, make sure you can see them. Make sure you see them MOVING AROUND, splashing. Set up swimming buddy and supervision systems. If you are at a public pool or beach with a lifeguard, remember these lifeguards (garde-bains) are there in case disaster strikes, not to prevent disaster from occurring in the first place (prevention is your job as the parent). And be careful of hot bodies and COLD water (such as jumping from a hot boat to cold lake water). Another combination that can have awful consequences.
The summer is back, let’s ensure we have fun in the sun!