According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 4,000 people drown in the United States each year; drowning kills more children between the ages of 1 and 4 than anything else except birth defects. Among children up to 14 years of age, drowning is the second leading cause of unintentional injury-related death behind motor vehicle crashes. More than half of those who are treated in an emergency department for drowning require hospitalization or transfer for further care (compared with about 6% of all unintentional injuries), and those who do survive may suffer lasting consequences like brain damage.
The CDC states three of the leading factors that influence drowning risk as lack of swimming ability, lack of barriers, and lack of close supervision. The primary mission of Hand in Hand Water Safety Awareness Foundation is to educate individuals and families on how to stay safe in and around water and provide them with the tools to do so.
The multi-layered approach that we believe is key to keeping you and your loved ones safe includes the following elements:
1. EFFECTIVE SUPERVISION Drowning can happen quickly and quietly anywhere there is water (such as bathtubs, swimming pools, buckets), and even in the presence of lifeguards (source: CDC). We make it a priority to educate adults on the importance of active supervision both in and out of the water. Always know where your children are, avoid distractions like phones and conversation with other adults, and always have a Water Watcher - one specifically designated adult so there is never any question about who is responsible for watching the child/children.
2. BARRIERS - FENCES, GATES, AND ALARMS If you or a family member have a pool, be sure to install a permanent 4-sided fence with self-locking gates. Ensure that the pool fence is at least 3-5 feet from the pool edge. Have all doors and windows that lead to the pool area locked and alarmed.
3. SURVIVAL SWIM LESSONS We believe that all family members should have the ability to swim to save themselves and others. Children as young as six months may enroll in ISR Self-Rescue® lessons. Children ages 4 and up through adults can learn the life-saving swim-float-swim sequence through American Red Cross swim lessons.
4. CPR TRAINING In the event that an emergency does occur, it is of the utmost importance that parents and families are prepared. Learn to perform CPR on children and adults and remember to update those skills regularly.