NDPA In The Media

Original Article: WBBJTV   |   By: Ryan Hodges

Water safety tips to know as summer approaches

JACKSON, Tenn. — With the warmer weather approaching, water safety is an important discussion to have.

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Whether you are by the pool, at the beach, or out by the lake, many people are going to want to cool off in the water this summer. One of the scenarios that we always have to think about is the possibility of drowning.

In reality, drowning does not always look the way we imagine.

Adam Katchmarchi, the Executive Director of the National Drowning Prevention Alliance, tells us why.

“There’s so much misinformation about drowning,” Katchmarchi said. “One of those being how drowning actually presents. Hollywood and TV often portray drowning as a very loud and pronounced event where the child is calling out for help, their arms are flailing in the air, and that’s not truly what drowning looks like. Drowning is fast and it’s silent. Often times that struggle is happening underwater, with young children.”

One great way to help diminish the possibility of drowning is swimming lessons. In fact, you can actually enroll your child in lesson a lot sooner than you might think.

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“We’re reminding parents the first sport you should enroll your child in this summer season is swim lessons. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children can be ready to start swimming lessons as early as their first birthday and learning from a qualified instructor,” Katchmarchi said.

Katchmarchi went on to say that you should not expect your 1-year-old to start swimming laps around the pool, however, they can learn basic survival skills like floating.

Katchmarchi spoke about many different ways to help protect our kids from drowning. The reason why he gave many examples, is not so that we choose one of them, but to make sure we are doing as many of them as possible.

“The biggest thing is not relying on one layer of protection,” he said. “So often, when I talk to people about water safety and drowning prevention, they say, ‘Oh I put my child in a life jacket,’ or, ‘Oh I am always watching them,’ or, ‘Oh we have a pool fence and that is what we are doing to prevent drowning.’ The reality is that layers can all break down and fail. So, it’s not about using one of these prevention strategies, it’s about using all of them together to reduce the risk of drowning.”

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Drowning is the leading cause of death in children ages 1 to 4. 70% of those drownings are happening during non-swim times.

Drowning is also the second leading cause of injury-related deaths in children up to 14 years of age.