Splashing around at the pool or ocean can be a fun way to get in exercise and enjoy the weather! Keep these water safety and drowning prevention tips in mind the next time you are enjoying time at the pool!


Risk Factors

Gender: nearly 80% of people who drown are male.

Age: Younger children are more susceptible to drowning. Children ages 1-4 have the highest drowning rates. 

Race: African American children ages 5-19 drown in pools at a 5.5 higher rate than white children. 

Alcohol: Alcohol use is involved in up to 70% of water-related deaths. 

Seizure Disorders: Drowning is the most common cause of injury related death, with many drownings taking place in the bath tub.


Prevention

Being that drowning is the leading cause of injury-related death in children, it is important to educate your little ones on the dangers of drowning. Check out these preventive tips: 

Swim Lessons: Children should be taught how to swim beginning at a young age, especially when exposed to nearby bodies of water like back yard pools, or lakes. Additionally, weak swimmers and children should have an adult within reach to offer “touch supervision” or close, constant and capable help if needed.

Flotation Devices: Weak swimmers or young children should wear life jackets, or use another form of flotation device. Additionally, the U.S. Coast Guard passed a law requiring all children under a certain age to wear a life jacket when on a moving water vessel. Laws vary from state to state; to learn about life jacket laws in your state, please visit: http://bit.ly/2sVzcY6

Supervision: Young children should never be left alone around water, even briefly. Flotation devices or pool toys should never be substituted for adult supervision. Parents, should also be trained and able to administer CPR in an emergency if necessary. Drowning may happen quickly and quietly, so all supervising adults should have visual contact with swimmers at all times. 

Fence it off: All pools, underground or above, should be fenced off to prevent small children from entering the water unsupervised. Gates should be self-closing and self-latching and fences should completely separate the pool from the house or yard and cover all sides of the pool.


Dry Drowning:

Most think the risk of drowning ends when you exit the pool, or head to lay out on the beach, however secondary drowning may still occur even on the shore. Dry drowning occurs when the lungs aren’t able to extract oxygen from the air. This may happen as a result of a puncture wound to the torso, or changes to the tissues that absorb oxygen. Dry drowning may also occur after inhaling water through the nose or mouth, which causes the vocal chords to spasm and close up airways. Dry drowning typically happens right after or near a water incident, whereas secondary drowning may take a few hours to show symptoms. Secondary drowning is caused when the airways open up, allowing water into the lungs where it builds up to cause pulmonary edema. 

Dry and secondary drowning produce the same symptoms. Symptoms of both include:

  • Trouble breathing
  • Coughing
  • Sleepiness of a drop in energy level
  • Irritability
  • Chest pain
  • Vomiting

If you or your child show any symptoms of dry or secondary drowning, you should seek medical attention immediately.


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