Drowning is a major public health problem that can be prevented

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are approximately 3,960 fatal unintentional drownings each year.

Drowning is a major public health issue that can be prevented. It is important to take extra steps at home, around pools and other bodies of water to keep your family safe this summer.

Let us begin by addressing a few common myths and misconceptions when it comes to the dangers of drowning:

Myth: You will be able to hear if a child is drowning nearby.
Fact: Drowning can be silent. There may be very little splashing, waving or screaming.

Myth: A lifeguard is the primary person responsible for your child’s supervision at the pool.
Fact: Watching your child in the water is your responsibility. A lifeguard’s job is to enforce rules, scan, rescue, and resuscitate.

Myth: You should not worry about your child drowning if they have taken swim lessons.
Fact: Swim lessons are essential, but skill levels vary. A review of individuals who have drowned in a pool revealed that 47 percent of children ages 10-17 reportedly knew how to swim.

Keep water activities and swim time fun by incorporating multiple layers of water safety to protect you and other, including:

Layer 1: Supervision is the first and most crucial layer of protection. Pay attention to children and other vulnerable individuals when they are in or around water, without being distracted. Always keep young children within arm’s reach of an adult and make sure older children swim with a partner.

Layer 2: Barriers physically block individuals from accessing bodies a water. Pool fences should surround all sides of a pool and be at least four-feet tall with self-closing and self-latching gates. Consider installing alarms on all doors and windows leading out to a pool.

Layer 3: Preparedness saves lives. In an emergency, it is critical to have a phone nearby to immediately call 911. It is also important to know CPR and other basics of water safety. Additionally, when enjoying large bodies of water, individuals should wear a properly fitted life jacket.

Another important step is teaching children how to swim as early as possible.

Every child is different, so enroll children in swim lessons when they are ready. Consider their age, development and how often they are around water.

Water safety awareness is something everyone should be concerned about, because lives are on the line.

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