Friday, April 30, 2010

As warm weather approaches...remember water safety!!!

Nationwide, drowning is the second leading cause of injury-related death for children between the ages of 1 and 4 (CDC).

Many children who survive a near-drowning live with a brain injury caused by lack of oxygen. These injuries often require long-term care and keep the child from living an independent life.

1-4 year olds are especially at risk for drowning in pools and hot tubs. Their poor balance and natural curiosity puts them at increased risk around water.

How much time does it take to drown?
In the time it takes to...

Cross a room for a towel (10 sec), a child can become submerged
Answer the phone (2 min), a child will loose consciousness
Sign for a package at the front door (4-6 min), a child submerged in a tub or pool will sustain permanent brain damage or die
Most children were last seen in the home and had missing from sight for less than 5 minutes.

How much water does it take to drown?
Inches of water in a bathtub
A bucket of water
Standing water on top of a pool or spa cover
Any amount of water that covers the mouth & nose

Do people always yell for help?
Most children do not yell for help.
Non-swimmers or exhausted swimmers are unable to call for help .
Drowning victims may be struggling under the water.

What is a near drowning?
Near drowning is survival after submersion in fluid.
For each child that drowns, it is estimated that 4 children are hospitalized for near-drowning.
Nationwide, 2700 children ages 14 & under were treated in hospital emergency rooms for unintentional drowning-related incidents.
As many as 20% of near drowning survivors suffer severe permanent neurological disability.
Nearly all who require CPR die or are left with severe brain injury.

Drowning is the number two cause of accidental death for children ages 14 and under and boys are two to four times more likely to drown than girls. Girls are twice as likely to drown in bathtubs than boys. It takes only seconds to drown, and often occurs silently when an unsupervised child is near water. In addition, open waters such as oceans, rivers, and lakes pose a drowning threat to children as well.

Consider these facts concerning drowning from SAFE KIDS USA:

When a child is submerged two minutes in water, he/she loses consciousness.
Irreversible brain damage sets in after four to six minutes of water submersion.
Most children die if they are found after 10 minutes in the water.

To help keep kids safe this pool season, Safe Kids USA recommends these precautions:

If you have a pool or spa, or if your child visits a home that has a pool or spa, it should be surrounded on all four sides by a fence at least five feet high with gates that close and latch automatically. Studies estimate that this type of isolation fencing could prevent 50 percent to 90 percent of child drownings in residential pools.

A pool or spa should be equipped with an anti-entrapment drain cover and a safety vacuum release system to prevent children from being caught in the suction of the drain. The powerful suction forces can trap a child underwater or cause internal injuries.

Don't leave toys in or near the pool, where they could attract unsupervised kids. For extra protection, consider a pool alarm and alarms on the doors, windows and gates leading to the pool.

Enroll your kids in swimming lessons around age 4, but don't assume swimming lessons make your child drownproof. There is no substitute for active supervision.

Remember: inflatable swimming toys such as water wings and noodles are not flotation devices and do not prevent drowning.

Learn infant and child CPR. In less than two hours, you can learn effective interventions that can give a fighting chance to a child whose breathing and heartbeat have stopped. Contact your local hospital or Red Cross affiliate for information about local CPR classes.

Keep rescue equipment, a phone and emergency numbers by the pool.

These guidelines apply to inflatable and portable pools, not just in-ground pools. A child can drown in just an inch of water. Kiddie pools should be emptied and stored out of reach when not in use