Children's drowning could rise during pandemic, pediatrician group says
The American Academy of Pediatrics is warning parents and caregivers to stay vigilant around pools and beaches this summer, especially as they may be more distracted with work and other responsibilities during the pandemic.Posted — Updated
The American Academy of Pediatrics is warning parents and caregivers to stay vigilant around pools and beaches this summer, especially as they may be more distracted with work and other responsibilities during the pandemic.
“Families may also be visiting lakes, rivers or other open bodies of water as a way to get outdoors while still maintaining physical distance to reduce the spread of coronavirus. We have to make sure that we plan layers of protection to keep children and teens safe around water, wherever they are,” Dr. Hoffman said.
Not only are parents distracted, but kids also may be rusty on whatever swimming skills they have. While many kids take swim classes in the spring to brush up on their swimming skills or get ready for summer swim teams, the pandemic put many swim lessons on hiatus. So, in many cases, the first time kids hit the pool, lake or ocean this summer, is the first time they've gone swimming in months.
Here are seven ways to keep kids safe this summer, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics:
- All children and adults should learn to swim. If swim lessons are suspended in your area due to coronavirus, it is important to add other layers of protection until your child can access lessons.
- Close, constant, attentive supervision around water is important. Assign an adult ‘water watcher,’ who should not be distracted by work, socializing, or chores.
- Around the house, empty all buckets, bathtubs and wading pools immediately after use. If you have young children, keep the bathroom door closed, and use toilet locks to prevent access.
- Pools should be surrounded by a four-sided fence, with a self-closing and self-latching gate. Research shows pool fencing can reduce drowning risk by 50%. Additional barriers can include door locks, window locks, pool covers and pool alarms.
- Adults and older children should learn CPR.
- Everyone, children and adults, should wear US Coast Guard-approved life jackets whenever they are in open water, or on watercraft.
- Parents and teens should understand how using alcohol and drugs increases the risk of drowning while swimming or boating.
“We can’t drown-proof kids, and so planning layers of protection is the best way to protect all children around water,” Dr. Hoffman said in the release.