Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Scary Swimming Stats

If you tuned into NBC's Today Show this morning, you may have gotten a rude wake-up call regarding the dangers of swimming. Among the sobering statistics in their story, Pool Drowning Deaths on the Rise:

  • There have been 77 drownings nationwide since Memorial Day
  • 390 children under 14 drown each year
  • Drowning is the #1 cause of death in children five and under.
As a parent who had his five year old (along with nieces, nephews and other relatives) in the water much of last week, this story is pretty alarming. We've already had several stories of drownings and near-drownings right here in WNY this summer, with several weeks of swimming season still ahead of us. 

The good news is, the Red Cross is here to help you take steps to ensure you don't become a statistic. The first--and maybe most important--step is to make sure everyone in your family knows how to swim. Even if you don't own a pool or live near a body of water, chances are your children will visit a friend or neighbor with a pool at some point. Enroll them in a Red Cross Learn-to-Swim program at your nearest aquatic facility (my son is taking his second class this afternoon!). Make sure you only swim in designated areas, and that there's a Red Cross-certified lifeguard at all public locations. Never swim alone, and make sure children are under constant supervision.

Of course, even if you follow all the recommended safety guidelines, there's always the chance that an emergency could occur. Make sure you are able to recognize when someone is having trouble in the water (as you can see from the Today Show video, it's not like you've seen in the movies!). Then, be ready to help save a life--sign up to take a CPR/AED/First Aid training course today.

Take it from this father--you'll never be able to stop your kids from wanting to enjoy the water throughout the summer, nor should you want to. Just take the time to ensure this summer swimming tradition doesn't turn tragic.