What Parents Should Know About Water Safety

Serious injuries and drownings can be prevented when property owners, operators, and caregivers understand the risks and make water safety a priority when children are around bodies of water. When negligence, lack of training, or reckless behavior causes injuries or death in Chicago, victims can file a personal injury lawsuit to hold responsible parties liable.

CPR Saves Lives

In a water emergency, cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) is needed to help revive or sustain blood flow to the lungs and brains of drowning victims. For children, CPR can be a lifesaver, improve their chance of survival, and reduce the severity of their injuries. In an emergency, the drowning child should be removed from the water and emergency medical services (EMS) should be contacted. If the rescuer is the only person around, he or she should give two minutes of rescue breathing and CPR first, and then call EMS. After calling EMS, the rescuer should resume giving CPR and rescue breathing. When available, an AED can be used, and care transferred to advanced life support.

CPR training is available through the American Heart Association, American Red Cross, and local hospitals and fire departments. The American Red Cross recommends that lifeguards and caregivers who supervise children at pools or bodies of water, such as those used or visited while at summer camp, obtain CPR training.

Practicing Swimming Pool Safety

During the summer, home swimming pools can be dangerous for children of all ages. Parents who make sure that their children know how to swim or know how to tread water until help arrives and wear U.S. Coast Guard-approved personal flotation devices while on a boat can help reduce the risk of injury. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that parents and caregivers follow these tips to protect their children from drowning:

  • Always supervise children near or in a swimming pool
  • Remove toys from the pool after use to remove the temptation for children to reach for them
  • Install isolation fencing around the pool to keep out children
  • Install pool alarms that sound an alert if someone has fallen into the pool or automatic pool covers that keep kids out of the pool
  • Prevent electric shock that can lead to drowning by keeping electrical appliances away from pools
  • Always keep a phone near the pool to call for help in an emergency

Infants Can Drown in an Inch of Water

It only takes an inch of water for an infant to drown. Infants should never be left alone in a bathtub, even if they are in a supportive bathtub ring. However, there are other drowning risks around the home that infants may be able to access if not watched. A curious child could fall into an open toilet. Closing bathroom doors and using childproof toilet locks to keep young children away from toilets when not supervised can help prevent drownings. Buckets with water or cleaning solutions also pose a drowning threat to young children.

Preschoolers Most at Risk for Drowning in Swimming Pools

Preschool-age children between the ages of one and five are most at risk of drowning in swimming pools. These children can easily wander away in a split second without a parent or caregiver noticing they are gone until it is too late. Without some type of pool, fence, or gate alarm, children can slip into a pool unnoticed without a splash or other sound and drown.

School-Age Children at Risk in Bodies of Waters

Children between the ages of five to 12 years of age are the most likely age group to drown in bodies of water near Chicago beaches versus swimming pools. Supervising children at beach-type locations can help reduce drowning risk. Additionally, preventing children from diving into the water unless the water depth is at least nine feet deep can decrease the risk of a head or a paralyzing spinal injury.

Teens Are Still at Risk of Drowning

Even though older children may know how to swim, they are still at risk of drowning. Older children and teens are often more willing to take chances, sometimes because of peer pressure. Drinking alcohol or using drugs may also come into play, which can impair a teen’s judgment when swimming. By telling their teens they must always swim with a buddy and never swim or dive while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, parents can help ensure their teens stay safe.