| LIFE-SAVING TOOL – Children taking lessons at Fun and Frolic Nursery School in Martin are not only taught how to save themselves, but how to save another person from drowning. Four-year-olds Dylan Brundige and Samantha Bates are taught by swim instructor Rachel Yates how to use a foam pool “noodle” to rescue someone else. |
As images of children splashing in water are splayed across the front pages of newspapers across the nation, the summer months also bring with them stories of tragic incidents involving children and water.
Instances of tragedy involving children who have succumbed to swimming pools, ponds and even buckets have not been uncommon this year.
On May 20, two teenagers in Memphis drowned in a lake behind their neighborhood. The children, ages 13 and 14, were cousins.
In Salt Lake City, Utah on June 5, a three-year-old saved his infant brother’s life after the small boy fell into a bucket of water that was only knee-high.
The quick action by the three-year-old to notify his mother, who then administered CPR, saved his 11-month-old brother.
According to the area newspaper, the children were playing with squirt guns when the infant fell into the bucket, couldn’t get out and became unconscious.
On June 2, a six-year-old Lawrenceburg child reportedly passed away at the Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt from a swimming incident the previous day.
According to news reports, the child was participating in a swimming activity at day camp at the municipal swimming pool when he was found unconscious in about five feet of water on June 1.
Lifeguards were present at the pool and attempts by local emergency personnel to revive the child at the scene were unsuccessful.
The Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt reported the incident was the second swimming death that week.
Thomas Abramo, M.D., professor and director of Emergency Medicine in the Department of Pediatrics at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, said in a news release that the child’s death should be a warning for other parents.
“The No. 1, 2 and 3 prevention strategies are proper supervision,” Abramo said. “Accidents happen more quickly than anyone expects. In less than two minutes under water, a child can lose consciousness. That’s why, especially for toddlers, they should never be out of sight when near a pool or body of water.”
Two-thirds of all drownings will happen in the swim season, according to Abramo.
The hospital reported that between June and August, the emergency department will see up to 30 children who are injured seriously or killed in water-related accidents. That number does not take into account the children who die before they reach the hospital.
For someone who caters to children throughout the year providing them an opportunity to swim, those numbers are not taken lightly.
Janice McDaniel, director and owner of Fun and Frolic Nursery School, has offered swim lessons for parents since 1982.
While children think they are being taught how to swim, the key to those lessons actually are geared more toward lessons of safety above everything else.
“These lessons allow children to be more comfortable in the water and under the water. We teach them how to save themselves as well as how to save others if the situation comes up,” Rachel Yates commented.
Yates is one of the swim instructors at the pre-school and is American Red Cross certified, something all instructors must possess at Fun and Frolic.
“We teach the children to roll on their backs first, relax and stay on their backs until help comes if they ever need help,” Yates commented.
A large portion of the one-hour swim classes allows the children from ages 2 and up, to practice using flotation devices as a life-saving tools.
Yates explained that smaller children are better able to handle foam pool “noodles” as a rescue tool in a life-threatening situation. Children require constant supervision around any water, according to the American Red Cross. From pools, rivers, lakes, bathtubs, toilets to buckets of water, any body of water poses risks for children.
The use of flotation devices and inflatable toys cannot replace parental supervision. Water features, including small ponds and waterfalls, can also be hazardous.
Many children drown every year in six inches of water or less, from slipping or inhaling too much water, especially in backyard “kiddie” pools.
According to a Knoxville pediatrician, it takes 30 seconds for a child to be submerged; 90 seconds to lose consciousness, two minutes for the heart to stop and five minutes for permanent brain damage to occur.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, the group who now advocates swimming lessons for children ages 1 to 4, a swimming pool is 14 times more likely than a motor vehicle to be involved in the death of a child age 4 and under.
Drowning is also the second leading cause of accidental injury-related death among children ages 10 to 14 years. Drowning is the leading cause of injury death and the second-leading cause of overall death in toddlers ages 12-23 months. Pool drains are often overlooked as a drowning hazard.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission reports that each year, nearly 300 children under the age of five drown in residential and public pools and spas. Seventy-nine percent of those occurred at a residence.
More than half of those children were male and 35 percent of the victims were between the ages of 12 months to two-years-old.
Yates encourages everyone to learn CPR. She also enforces the rules at the local school and encourages the children to follow the same rules away from the school.
The children are taught to never swim alone, use the buddy system and have a parent or significantly older sibling with them near the pool.
The American Red Cross notes that CPR is a life-saving tool for a drowning victim. According to the ARC, CPR must be administered on a drowning victim even before paramedics arrive.
Never leave an infant alone to call 911. Administer CPR and take the infant with you when making a phone call.Administer CPR on a small child before calling 911.
Parents and children who follow the recommended rules and America Red Cross guidelines are more prone to have a safe, fun-filled summer. For safety tips, CPR instructions or other general information, visit www.redcross.org.