TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – Summer is here and the hot spot for many kids is the swimming pool. But sadly drownings devastate families every year. Safe Kids Worldwide reports, ” Drowning is a leading cause of unintentional injury and death among children in the U.S. In 2014, there were 784 deaths for children ages 0-17.” Rebecca Witte, a mom in Topeka, takes pool safety seriously.
“The water is dangerous. I don’t want them to be afraid of it, but there are still some general concerns,” remarks Witte.
Safe Kids Shawnee County says, there are many misconceptions parents have on drowning, but the reality is drowning is silent, quick, and it’s not necessarily the lifeguard’s job to watch your child.
“(The) lifeguard’s job is to enforce the pool rules, scan the pool for things, and rescue and resuscitate as needed. Watching your kid is your responsibility as a parent,” explains Rachel Ault, a registered nurse at Stormont Vail and a volunteer for Safe Kids Shawnee County.
Someone should have eyes on your child at all times, without distractions.
“You think you’re watching them the whole time but you do, you look away for a second and you just never know what might happen,” Witte says.
Making sure your kids know how to swim before going to the pool is also important.
As for flotation devices, Safe Kids recommends a U.S. Coast Guard approved life jacket, “not using the little arm floaties, or water wings, or whatever you want to call them, because they are not designed to prevent any kind of drowning,” explains Ault.
Although the high risk age group for pool drownings, is kids under 4, Safe Kids Shawnee County suggests older kids still need to be cautious and should always try to swim with a buddy. The risk of drowning in open water, like in a lake, increases with age.