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Drowning is the #2 Cause of Death: Children ages 1-4

Water Safety Tips
I know that it's just starting to get cold outside and water safety may be the last thing on most people's minds right now. It shouldn't be though. You and your children may be around water without you even thinking about it. You can go on vacation, be at an indoor pool, visiting someone who has a pool, the bathtub, standing water and in just 5 months it will be swimming pool season. Basically, it's never too soon to think about water safety and the important steps we can take to ensure our children's safety.

Recently after speaking with Michelle of Teach Baby to Swim, a Twitter friend (great way to make connections). She was interested in reaching the Hip Mommy Chick audience with 3 simple steps and solutions for waster safety. So here is her guide that is short, sweet and to the point.

From 2005-2009, there were an average of 10 fatal cases of drowning per day in the U.S. Two out of the ten deaths per day were children. Today in 2012 drowning is still the #2 cause of death for children ages 1-4. (The number 1 cause of death is birth defects.) Together we can help reduce the risk of drowning for our children. In order to do that, we must first look deeper into the problem and identify the main causes. The Center for Disease Control has identified the most common causes of drowning. I have included the top three causes and a guide for parents on how to reduce each risk.

Cause #1: Lack of Swimming Skills
Today, many children claim that they can’t swim. If your child is among those who are not able to swim, this is a crucial first step towards lowering their risk of drowning. Statistics have proven that taking swimming lessons can reduce a child's risk of drowning.

Solution: Swimming Lessons
Swimming lessons can reduce the risk of drowning by as much as 88% among young children aged 1 to 4 years, who are at greatest risk of drowning. Enroll your child into a swim school, or learn how to teach your child to swim.

Cause #2: Lack of Barriers
Barriers, or the fencing around a pool, prevent kids from entering the pool deck without adult supervision. A four-sided fence that blocks the pool deck from your home and backyard, reduces a child’s drowning risk by 83 percent! When considering a pool barrier, choose a four-sided fence over a three-sided fence for extra protection.

Solution: Make Your Pool Off Limits
Barriers to the pool deck can be helpful with preventing babies and kids from falling into the pool without notice. Make sure your pool fence completely separates your home and yard area from the pool. The fence should be a minimum of four feet tall, and have self-latching gates that open outward, with latches out of the reach of kids and babies. A second option some consider is installing a pool alarm to detect if a child falls into the pool. If you are considering a pool alarm, note that sub-surface alarms tend to be more reliable.

Cause #3: Lack of Close Supervision
Drowning can happen quickly and quietly anywhere there is water (such as bathtubs, swimming pools, buckets), and even in the presence of lifeguards.

Solution: Watch Children in and Around the Water
Select a responsible adult who can swim and knows CPR to watch children who are in or around water – even if a lifeguards is on duty. Having more eyes over children has been proven to decrease the chance of an unseen accident. The supervising parent or adult should not be reading, on the phone or doing any other activity while watching children. 

By Michelle Ziskovicz

For more information or questions contact our Guest Contributor, Michelle at: info@teachbabytoswim.com Michelle is the gal behind Teach Baby to Swim and has been teaching babies to swim since 2006. She started a swim school, trained swim instructors and now wants to help parents all over the world.

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