Parents of young children often worry about all the dangers to their children’s health, especially traffic-related accidents, infectious diseases, and in recent decades, school shootings. But while these are major dangers, this list leaves out one of the key causes of death for children under 5, according to the CDC—drowning.
What’s even more shocking is that the vast majority of young children who drown aren’t even expected to be anywhere near the pool, per Scary Mommy. Drowning can happen in as little as 30–60 seconds, meaning that even losing track of a child near water for a short time can be deadly, as water safety expert Mario Vittone told CBS.
As summer rolls on, the number of drowning cases spikes, so if you’re going to anywhere near a swimming pool (almost certainly the case), a lake, or the ocean, it’s imperative to inform yourself about how to prevent drowning.
How could I have known that every parent’s worst nightmare would be my reality? It happened so quickly.
But first, how does drowning claim so many young lives? As mom Nicole Hughes shared on Scary Mommy, it’s often not about what you do during swimming. When she lost her 3-year-old son Levi to drowning, it wasn’t because of an accident while swimming.
“I have always taken water safety seriously. In each of the pictures I have of my son’s final day, he is wearing a life jacket. Flying a kite with his dad? Life jacket. Eating M&M’s in a beach chair? Life jacket.”
What Hughes and most parents never fully consider is what can happen after swim time is supposed to be over. “Why did I not know about the dangers of drowning during NON-SWIMMING times? How did I not know it took less than one minute?”
For Hughes, her family had just finished eating. She had split a brownie with her young son and had taken her phone, which he had been playing on, back from him. “I don’t know how Levi got away from us as we were cleaning up from dinner, or what lured him to go outside alone. I was the one who found him, face down, in the deep end.”
As she stresses, “drowning isn’t splashing and yelling. It is silent, and it takes SECONDS.”
About 70 percent of kids under 5 in drowning accidents weren't meant to be near a pool at the time.
Since losing her boy, Nicole Hughes has been on a mission to educate other parents of young children about the dangers of water-related deaths. “Drowning needs to be addressed with as much concern as newborns sleeping on their backs to sleep, vaccinations, and car seat safety. Drowning is just as deadly and just as preventable.”
Hughes created a campaign called Levi’s Legacy, whose mission is to make sure that other parents never have to face what she did. The site focuses on four major ways to prevent water deaths that all parents should be aware of this swimming season.
1) Swim Lessons—as legendary swimmer and Olympic medalist Rowdy Gaines told Business Insider, learning to swim should be seen as important as learning how to walk. “We’ve found a cure for drowning, and it’s pretty simple,” Gaines says. As Nicole Hughes writes, “Levi did not take swim lessons, and his parents will never stop regretting it.”
2) Water Guardian—any time young kids are near bodies of water, no matter how big or small (even garden ponds), there needs to be an older person who does know how to swim watching them at all times. As many kids drown in bathtubs, Nicole Hughes emphasizes: “do not let down your guard just because you are inside.”
3) Fencing —creating a physical barrier around swimming pools and hot tubs is vital. As Hughes notes, it needs to be a a “self-closing, self-latching fence” that covers all four sides.
4) Life Jackets —during supervised swim lessons, it’s important for kids not to wear flotation aids as these “teach false security,” as Hughes says. However, in open-water swimming, “EVERYONE should wear life jackets at all times” no matter how proficient they are.
All of this takes time, effort, financial investment, and lots of energy. But as a grieving mom reminds us all: “your child’s life is worth it.”
Watch below for a powerful video that shows just how quickly a little one’s life can hang in the balance, even in the seeming safety of the family pool.
I’ve debated sharing this video for 2 years now, but have finally decided to….even if it just creates more awareness. This day, as you can see, we were not swimming. Everyone is in their clothes. I believe it was around the April/May timeframe. My family and I are SUPER careful people….like to the point of overboard, but this just proves how quickly a child can disappear and no one notices. My parents yard is huge and we went outside to see a tree my Dad planted across the yard. It was just me, my parents and the kids. We were all over there for not even a minute. The kids were playing and I didn’t notice anyone missing….all of a sudden I just hear a SPLASH! My heart immediately sank, I dropped my phone and RAN as fast as I could across their huge yard. I knew I had seconds to get him above water. I could only see the top of his forehead as I jumped in. This was my worst nightmare coming true….thank GOD I got to him in time. He didn’t cough and just cried! Things could have been SO much worse and I thank God that we were out there and that they didn’t have music on or any other noise was going on so I could hear that splash. I didn’t even look around to see who/what it was….I knew it was Beau….my baby. You can never be too careful when it comes to little ones around the pool/pond/lake/ocean….even bathtub.
تم النشر بواسطة Tierney Woolf Dacey في الأربعاء، ٢٦ يونيو ٢٠١٩