According to the National Center for Health Statistics, 4,406 people drowned in 1998, including 1,003 children under the age of 15. In fact, drowning is the second leading cause of injury-related death for children.
More drowning deaths occur during summer – particularly in July – than any other time of year. And children can drown in less than one inch of water, so it is extremely important to exercise caution in the home, around the pool or on vacation at a lake or ocean.
- Never leave a child alone in or near the water.
- Make sure children swim in supervised or designated areas.
- Never let a child swim during a storm or when there is lightning.
- Make sure children know the depth of the water.
- Don’t let kids dive or jump into water that is less than 9-feet deep.
- Don’t chew gum or eat while swimming, diving or playing in the water.
- Keep a first aid kit, phone and emergency numbers near the water.
- Learn CPR.
- Have each child aged four and older complete a swimming program.
- Enforce all pool rules, including no running, pushing people in or dunking other swimmers.
- Be sure to remove all toys from the water after everyone is done swimming, so they don’t tempt smallchildren to enter the water when an adult is not around.
- At the ocean, be careful of underwater currents and the wave action.
- Don’t swim in rivers, where fast-moving water is extremely dangerous and currents are hard to gauge.
If you have a pool:
- Make sure there is a clear view of the pool from your house.
- Install a fence or wall that is at least five feet high completely around the pool.
- Make sure that any gate handles are not accessible to young children.
- Follow the manufacturer’s directions for the safe installation and use of the pool cover.
- Keep all electrical appliances away from the pool area.
- Store sanitation chemicals carefully. Explosions and burn injuries can occur if the chemicals are stored improperly or handled by children.Participating in swim lessons can reduce the risk of drowning. At the Y a child can start at 6 months or when they are able to hold their head upright.
Swimming is a life skill, everyone needs to know how to swim for safety. At a young age, kids shouldn’t be expected to do the strokes, but they can blow bubbles, kick, and learn to roll over and float on their back, all of which are fundamental safety skills.
Swim lessons should be at least 30 minutes per class, with six to eight lessons per session. Our instructors at the Y are certified lifeguards as well as swim instructors. At The Y we have certified lifeguards on duty during lessons to provide extra protection and parents are welcome to sit on the pool deck and watch the class.
Until a child is about 3 years old, swim lessons are going to be parent-participation classes. Parents will be standing in water up to their waist or higher and are expected to help educate their children about water safety.
Children are ready for more skill-based swim lessons between ages 3 and 5. These classes will have goals of self-rescue: ability to enter the water, surface, turn around and return to the wall, propel oneself for at least 25 yards, float on your back, tread water, and get out of the water safely.
The Y program delivers consistency, repetition, and a step-by-step proven curriculum. Group lessons are a positive experience with peer reinforcement from their classmates, participants learn skills by watching others swim. Parents should continue to re-enforce learning between classes; practice, practice, practice will help them succeed.
If the cost of swim lessons is holding you back, ask about scholarships or financial assistance. At the Y we offer reduced-fee swim lessons for those who qualify. Our financial aid application is on our web site FairfieldY.org and we also offer scholarships through a grant we received from the Stew Leonard JR children‘s charities.
Swim lessons do not drown-proof a child. Parents must be hyper-vigilant and closely supervise kids when in and around water. An adult with swim skills should be within an arm’s length of any child who cannot swim. If you are the designated “water watcher” for any child, regardless of their swimming ability, don’t be distracted by texting, reading, socializing, or drinking alcohol.
Air-filled, foam swimming aids, and float supports will give kids a false sense of security, and they may not realize they cannot swim on their own. Children are curious learners and drawn to water. Protect them by installing barriers such as locks, fences and gates, and alarms to prevent unanticipated, unsupervised access to swimming pools, hot tubs, spas, bathtubs, toilets, or natural bodies of water.
Even the best swim lessons cannot “drown-proof” a child, and so AAP strongly recommends parents take steps that make a child’s environment safer. Make sure children understand your rules and expectations, and strictly enforce them. Teaching children not to go into the water without asking permission and having adult supervision these are the most important rules of all.
The AAP also recommends:
- Parents and caregivers should never leave children alone or in the care of another child while in or near bathtubs, pools, spas, or other open water.
- Adults should empty water from buckets and other containers immediately after use.
- Do not leave young children alone in the bathroom. Toilet locks can prevent drowning of toddlers.
- When infants or toddlers are in or around the water, a supervising adult with swimming skills should be within an arm’s length, providing constant “touch supervision.”
- Even with older children and better swimmers, the supervising adult should focus on the child and not be engaged with other distracting activities.
“Water is everywhere, and we need multiple layers to protect children from the deadly risks it poses,” said Dr. Quan. “As pediatricians, we cannot overlook this risk. Pediatricians can help by counseling families and working in their communities to improve safety, especially around pools, lakes, and in boating communities.”
Here are some of the programs the Y is offering this summer:
We are looking forward to a safe and exciting summer at the Y. Please come join us!
We are offering several ways to learn to swim, improve your stroke, or just have fun. At the Y we are trying our best to work with your busy summer schedule: you can swim once a week, twice a week, five times a week, or even schedule individual classes.
- Half day swim an intensive one week program, offers two 45minute swim lessons each day, we have morning and afternoon sessions.
- Swim Lessons Monday/Wednesday or Tuesday/Thursday, twice a week for four weeks our Session 1 begins Monday June 24 to July 18. Session 2 begins on July 22 to August 15 come join us for 4 weeks or for 8 weeks. If the best day for you is Friday, Saturday, or Sunday swim lessons run once a week for 8 weeks, beginning Sunday June 23.
- We are also offering Beach Club, come for a week of adventure 9am to 3pm; kayaking, paddle boarding, and exploring the natural eco system of our 5 Fairfield beaches.
Playing in the Heat
When the weather is warm and sunny, it’s great to get outdoors. Especially in summer, kids and adults participate in outdoor sports more frequently.
High temperatures and high humidity can be particularly dangerous. Parents and coaches should be careful about children playing too strenuously in such conditions. Children are more vulnerable to such heat-related illnesses as dehydration, heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heat stroke because their bodies are less efficient at cooling.
Use these simple precautions to avoid heat-related illnesses:
- Be sure you and your children drink lots of water throughout the day before you become thirsty.
- Supervise children playing or exercising in the heat and watch for signs of heat distress.
- Make sure children take frequent breaks to rest and cool down.
- If possible, exercise or play in a shady area.
- Wear loose-fitting, lightweight clothing that breathes.
- Be especially cautious if it is very humid. Excessive humidity makes it harder for the body to cool itselfthrough sweating. Limit the duration of practices and provide frequent breaks.
- If symptoms of heat exhaustion appear, stop the activity right away, move to a cool spot and take lots ofwater.
- If heat stroke is apparent, go to the emergency room right away.
- Become familiar with symptoms of dehydration, heat exhaustion and heat stroke.
Drink plenty of water, provide plenty of water, and have sports drinks like Powerade and Gatorade around for particularly long activities outside in the heat.