Summer days filled with fun in the sun have arrived… but they can be overshadowed if you don’t keep pool safety top of mind. In fact, any water source can be dangerous and deadly, even if you turn your back or look away for just a few seconds. So if your Military Family likes to spend time in the water, there are several key tips to keep in mind.
We are share those vitally important tips with you about the risk of drowning, courtesy of former-Military mom and blogger Vicki DeLuzio. See what she discovered below.
I received the second notification this year on my phone that a child had drowned in a pool yesterday. It sends chills all over my body, which is why I am addressing it here. One of the most important things to know is what drowning looks like. Have you ever seen one before? Watch this startling video to see a potential drowning taking place.
Now review these facts about drowning, adapted from Reader’s Digest, that you might not realize about people having trouble in the water. Be sure to look out for these signs of danger.
When someone is drowning:
- They can’t call for help.
In order for a person to be able to speak, they must be able to breathe. Since the mouth of a person who is drowning sinks below and reappears above the surface of the water, there isn’t time for him/her to exhale, inhale, and call out.
- They can’t wave for help.
A person who is drowning instinctively extends his/her arms to the sides and presses down on top of the water to lift their mouth out of the water; a child may extend his/her arms forward. Since they are attempting to save themselves, they can’t use their arms to move toward a rescuer or reach for some kind of rescue equipment.
- They remain upright in the water with no evidence of kicking.
A drowning person can struggle for only 20 to 60 seconds before going under.
- Their eyes can’t focus.
The eyes will be glassy or closed.
- You may not be able to see their face.
Their hair may be over the forehead or eyes.
- Their Head is low in the water.
Their mouth will be at water level and their head may be tilted back with the mouth open. A child’s head may fall forward.
- They are quiet.
Children playing in the water make noise. When they get quiet, you need to get to them and find out why.
- They don’t seem in distress.
Sometimes the most important indicator that someone is drowning is that he/she doesn’t look like they’re drowning. They may just seem to be looking up at the sky, shore, pool deck, or dock. Ask the person, “Are you all right?” If they can answer at all, they probably are. If they return only a blank stare, you may have less than 30 seconds to get to them to save them.
A few more facts:
- There are over 3,000 drownings per year in the U.S.
- 1 in 5 are children younger than age 14.
- More than 3,000 children per year end up in the Emergency Department for submersion injuries.
If you are living in an area where pools are common, you need to address this issue more fervently.
Tips if you have a pool in your home (or a grandparents/friend’s home):
- Get alarms for your doors. Children can and will sneak out of doors in the house. Have a chime on each of your doors so that if anyone enters or leaves, a noise will sound. You can find some at Home Depot (or any other home improvement store) for under $20 per unit.
- Install a pool fence. They may not be the most aesthetically pleasing item in your home, but they are proven to work and keep your kids safe. The mesh is thin enough so you can see through it easily and enjoy your pool. I have seen these in action and they are really strong and durable.
- Get Surface Motion Alarms that will monitor and alarm you if there is motion in the pool. There are pluses and minuses with these sensors, especially if you have wild animals near your home that may jump in, or your child isn’t large enough to displace enough water to make a wave.
Community/public pool safety/other people’s homes:
- If you are in charge of watching a child near the pool or in the pool, you should not have distractions. Easier said than done, I know. But, put the phone away, the book, and especially the alcohol. Alcohol diminishes your reaction and dulls your senses.
- Know who is watching the kids. This is the scariest part of the drowning equation. Parents, guardians, friends all assume that someone else is watching else is watching the child and all of a sudden, no one knows where the child is and they are underwater. I have witnessed this a few times. My husband and I tag team our children in the pool. We actually have hand signals that we give each other if one of us takes over watching two versus one child. We also constantly scan the pool watching out for other children as well as our own. So, if you ever come across our family in the pool and we aren’t very chatty, don’t think we are the world’s hugest jerks-we just are very wary and watchful because we have both pulled children out of our community pool.
- Be wary of those flotation devices (water wings, tubes, floaties for babies). They are not meant to save a child. Little ones can flip out of them and get entangled in them very easily.
Your kids’ safety begins with you.
Teach your children how to swim! If you don’t think you’re a good enough swim teacher for them, look up your local swim club, YMCA or City’s parks and recreation department for classes.
About Vicki DeLuzio:
Vicki is a mom of three kids five and under. She met her web designing (and Army Vet) husband through mutual friends. Wanting a change of pace, cheaper taxes and warmer temperatures from Connecticut, they sold their home and relocated across the country in Surprise, Arizona. Vicki now blogs about all the places they go with reviews about the amenities in Surprise. She is also a licensed Real Estate Agent and loves helping people find homes in the area. You can find her at www.surpriseazmom.com.
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