California continues to have the nation’s largest number of summer drowning tragedies.
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Nationally, drowning is the leading cause of death of children under the age of five years old.
The national Pool Safety campaign, organized by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission reports that pool and spa deaths of children between the age of one through 14 reached 202 from Memorial Day to Labor Day, which is 98 days. 143 or 71 percent of the victims were younger than five years old.
The CPSC report does not include non-fatal drowning incidents or fatalities occurring in other bodies of water.
2013 reports the highest pool/spa drowning rates for the summer in Texas (28), Florida (24), and California (23), an increase from last year – Texas (17), California (10), and Ohio (9). Last year there were 137 pool/spa drowning deaths, 100 of these children were under the age of five.
“It is tragic. Water safety education helps families understand that drowning is preventable,” explains Nikki Miller, co-founder of the Aquatic Safety Awareness Program in Valencia. “Safer water with approved pool fencing and alarms, safer kids -learning to swim, and safer response – learning CPR, will help save precious young lives all year long,” continues Miller, owner of Academy Swim Club.
The CPSC recommends fences for all pools, stay close to children in the water, be alert, and teach children how to swim. Many pediatricians and physicians also recommend swimming lessons for families with small children.
“Both my girls had swim lessons before one year (of age),” shares Dr. Morris Yen, of Santa Clarita Pediatrics. “If anything, it just prepared them in case of falling into swimming pool or being swept up by a wave.”
Some states have initiated pediatrician recommendations during baby well-checks as a drowning prevention measure to emphasize the importance of basic swim skills.
“It should be discussed at the visits,” explains Dr. Kathleen Brockett of Valencia Pediatrics. “If a child does not have swimming lessons but everyone around him/her can swim, that child is still not safe. It is really important to teach your child how to roll over and float until help reaches that child.”
Many children and adults with autism are at greater risk.
“We are not sure why so many people with autism are attracted to water,” shares Emily Iland, president of the Autism Society of Los Angeles and co-founder of the Santa Clarita Autism Asperger Network.
“Inside the house, people with autism can drown in the bathtub, the toilet, or even the washing machine because of the attraction to water. Outside the house, they can be attracted to pools and other bodies of water,” she continues.
“If we know that their attraction is to water throughout their lifespan, then the most important thing would be to have swimming lessons so if they do go into water, they can help themselves. Infants can learn to swim but maybe it is something we overlook even for adults. Especially if their fascination is with water, swimming lessons could be more important than for anyone else,” describes Iland.
Santa Clarita residents have many resources available – from free CPR classes to year ’round swimming lessons, special needs swimming lessons, and bilingual water safety material. According to doctors and experts from several Santa Clarita medical centers, swim survival techniques are a priority.
“It’s something that is a necessity of life. If we can save one life by teaching techniques, that right there is the reward,” says Dr. Eric Fernandez, physician at Facey Medical Group.
Visit the Aquatic Safety Awareness Program website for more information and links to Santa Clarita water safety resources. http://www.ASAPsocal.org.
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Source: Santa Clarita News