It wouldn’t be summer without a trip to the pool.
While lots of fun memories can be made soaking up the sun and splashing around in the water, parents and guardians are urged to take caution when swimming with their children.
According to a news release by the American Academy of Pediatrics, nearly 1,000 children die each year due to drowning. It is the single leading cause of injury-related death among children ages 1 to 4, the AAP said.
Dr. Martin Hanawalt, a Nationwide Children’s Hospital pediatric hospitalist at OhioHealth Mansfield Hospital, recommends parents take measures to ensure the safety of their children.
“If you have a pool at your house, it needs to have a fence all the way around it,” Hanawalt said.
The fence should completely surround the pool and be about four-feet high with a locking gate, he added.
He advised that children should never be left unsupervised in the water — whether that be a pool, bathtub, lake, etc. — and that a supervising adult should be within arm’s length.
In his 20-plus years of experience in pediatrics, Hanawalt said he’s heard of different drowning scenarios.
“Lots of time it’s the pool that wasn’t surrounded by a fence,” he said.
Unlike what is sometimes depicted in the movies, drowning can be a silent killer.
“It can happen pretty fast and pretty silently,” Hanawalt said.
Equipment like swim floaties and puddle jumpers can give a child a false sense of security.
“Only true actual approved life jackets are considered safe,” Hanawalt said.
According to the AAP, research has found that swim lessons are beneficial for children starting around age 1, and may lower drowning rates; however, it’s important to bear in mind, “Swimming lessons don’t drown-proof your child,” Hanawalt said.