Did you know that,” Every day, about ten people die from unintentional drowning. Of these, two are children aged 14 or younger. Drowning ranks fifth among the leading causes of unintentional injury death in the United States.”  “Drowning is responsible for more deaths among children ages one to four than any other cause except birth defects.

Among those 1-14, drowning is the second-leading cause of unintentional injury-related death behind motor vehicle crashes.”

 

As the weather warms up it reminds us a lots of things that make us happy. BBQs, fireworks, and of course swimming.

 

As fun as swimming is it is very important that each swimmer follows the rules that are set in place to help maintain safety. However, even if you are following the rules, accidents and emergencies can still happen. If you are swimming and an emergency happens, you need to remember to think so you don’t sink. If you get too tired and cannot make it to safety do not panic. When we panic our muscles tense up and our bodies feel heavier. I know it sounds crazy but the water wants to hold you up. Relax, put your head back and that will help bring your hips towards the surface of the water. Control your breathing and try to keep some air for buoyancy. Even if your legs start to sink if you remain calm and keep your head back and are looking up with a normal breathing pattern, your upper body will stay afloat and your legs will just dangle beneath you.

 

There are other methods of swimming like treading water, and survival swimming that are taught in swim lessons that will be beneficial to anyone who’s ever in a situation where they may be at risk for drowning. Swim lessons and learning how to swim  is the best defense against drowning .  Most drownings happen to kids between the ages of 1 and 4 . That is an extremely vulnerable and developmental stage of their life and  learning  how to swim at a young age  is just as important  is learning how to walk or talk. And in a lot of cases here at swk we have some good Little Swimmers who can’t quite walk or talk yet but they know how to kick those feet float on their back and blow bubbles. Swimming has saved my life and I’m sure it has saved countless others. 

 

Another good rule of thumb to follow is to swim as a pair, or have a buddy system in place. This allows an extra layer of supervision for swimmers. As parents, coaches, and lifeguards we are still human and we do not always see everything that is going on at the same time and it only takes a moment for someone to slip underwater. Having a buddy system really helps with an extra set of eyes watching your back. When I was younger I used to swim in open water at Camp a lot and we always has a buddy system where you  would Buddy up with a friend and have a good peer type of supervision keeping a watchful eye on everyone to help assess the camp counselors and lifeguards. This buddy system proved helpful on more than one occasion we’re someone swam a little too far out or someone went a little too far underwater and their buddy was the first person to see them and they were able to signal for help. So if you are out at a pool or at the lake talk to the kids about establishing a buddy system and a check in system so that we can keep them safe while they have fun swimming and enjoying the water.

 

Sources: CDC and American Red Cross 

 

https://www.redcross.org/get-help/how-to-prepare-for-emergencies/types-of-emergencies/water-safety/drowning-prevention-and-facts.html

 

https://www.cdc.gov/homeandrecreationalsafety/water-safety/waterinjuries-factsheet.html

 

By Leroy Haynes