Drowning Epidemic: Toddlers in USA

Toddler drownings are on the rise due to many diverse reasons, some of which are not as obvious as others. Swimming pool drownings are usually what first comes to mind when people think about toddlers and water accidents. This is only one of the ways that makes water hazardous in this age group. For the purposes of this paper we shall define that age between the months of 12 and 36, the age between one and three years old. We will explore the most common ways that toddlers experience accidental drownings and the ways in which these drownings may be prevented.

Swimming Pool Drownings This is, of course, the most commonly thought of place where drowning accidents of any age occur. A significant number of toddlers do drown in swimming pools. According to Ruth A. Benner and the Committee in Pediatrics, they state that “children between 1 and 4 years of age were most likely to drown in swimming pools (58% of drownings among 1 to 2 year olds and 51% among 3-4 year olds. ” There were no statistics for the age group of 1 through 3 specifically. The most common reasons for the drownings in this group are lack of parental supervision.

Even though the parents may be around, the lack of attention to detail has been a major cause in the rise of these accidents. Many times the toddlers are not at the pool so parents are under false assumptions that their children are safe. There are some cases, for instance, where toddlers who were thought to have been sleeping entered the pool area without knowledge of the parents or sitters that may have been in their charge. Prevention of Swimming Pool Drownings For prevention of swimming pool drownings the most obvious tactic would be the use of a security fence with locks and latches that are not accessible to toddlers.

What has happened in the cases, however, where there were fences and the children were thought to be sleeping? Sometimes the house, itself, forms one of the walls of access to the pool and by exiting the door to the house it puts you in the swimming area. For this kind of design it is imperative that alarms are installed and always remain activated so that the alarm will sound should anyone enter the pool area without deactivating the alarm by code. This is only an added protection, however.

Since it only takes minutes for a child to drown, this remains only a partial precaution because if the alarm sounds and the caretaker is not in distance for timely rescue, it may already be too late to have prevented, if not a fatality, then at least loss of oxygen to the brain, resulting in permanent learning and behavioral problems. Doors from the house that access swimming areas should also have locks that are not accessible to toddlers. http://www. irvineworldnews. com/Astories/aug7/drownings.

htm Although early learning swimming lessons are helpful, they can also be a false sense of security to parents that may be less alert to the whereabouts of there children at every moment. With the risks still in mind, the ability of a toddler to float on his/her back is a lifesaving technique that can be used to delay drowning until help comes. http://www. irvineworldnews. com/Astories/aug7/drownings. htm Drowning in Utility Pails Toddlers can drown in as little as two inches of water, therefore there are major concerns in the average household where there are no swimming pools. Sometimes the gravest dangers are those that involve drownings in smaller bodies of water since these are the more unsuspected ways a child might drown.

A mother gone to answer the phone in another room while washing the kitchen floor can find her toddler drowned in the bucket of water she left unattended. In honor of Logan Zachary Reed here is an excerpt from the website dedicated to the hopes that it might teach others. “Even a small amount of liquid can be deadly. Of all buckets, the 5-gallon size presents the greatest hazard to young children because of its tall, straight sides.

That, combined with the stability of these buckets, makes it nearly impossible for top-heavy infants and toddlers to free themselves when they fall into the bucket headfirst. ” http://www. loganzackaryreed. memory-of. com/ http://www. cpsc. gov/cpscpub/pubs/5006. html Toilet bowl lids left open, aquariums, and any container left outdoors that may have accumulated rain that a parent may be unaware of, all pose grave drowning dangers for toddlers. The lack of awareness of how toddlers can become victims to these lesser-realized evils has been much of the cause of the epidemic proportions of incidences of drowning in the toddler age group. The cases of drownings by toddlers should not at all be an epidemic.

It is up to parents and caregivers to be responsible in their supervision of children. This does not mean that they should just be present or on the premises when there is danger of drowning in the ways we have described. This also means very careful appraisal of the environment in which the water is contained must be carefully considered in the plans of building or having a swimming pool. Full knowledge of the facts that children can drown in very shallow water of less than 2 inches is not only something that needs to be recognized, but must be processed in the adult mind fully in order for prevention to be adequate in reducing death and injury of toddlers to drowning.

The saddest thing is to have a child die or be injured for life and hear a parent say that they did not realize or that they just didn’t think about a toilet or bucket or other smaller body of water in which the child was drowned. “70 Percent of all preschoolers who drown who are in the care of one or both parents at the time of drowning. ” http://swimming. about. com/od/safetyinthewater/a/usa06watersafe_2. htm This is certainly an alarming statistic and not at all an acceptable statistic in a nation of educated caregivers.

Until parents become aware and concerned and less comfortable with the fact that they have given their children swimming lessons at an early age, the statistics will remain the same. Works Cited About. Inc. , A Part of the New York Times Company. Drowning by the numbers. (2006). http://swimming. about. com/od/safetyinthewater/a/usa06watersafe_2. htm Benner, R. A. and Committee on Injury, Violence and Poison Prevention. Prevention of drowning in infants, children, and adolescents [Electronic Version]. Pediatrics (2003). 112; 240-245.

“This information is current as of December 6, 2006. ” Goetz, P. It only takes a moment for a child to drown. [Electronic Version]. Irvine World News (2003). Retrieved December 6, 2006, from http://www. irvineworldnews. com/Astories/aug7/drownings. htm Koch, Beverly. Drowning fact sheet. Sources cited on web page. Retrieved from http://www. loganzackaryreed. memory-of. com/ December 6, 2006. U. S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. Infants & toddlers can drown in 5-gallon buckets. http://www. cpsc. gov/cpscpub/pubs/5006. html (n. d. ). Retrieved December, 6, 2006.

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