Local drownings highlight need for water-safety lessons
The sad news of last Thursday's swimming-pool drowning of a Prince George's County boy and his uncle serves as a sobering reminder that the only way to keep kids -- and adults -- safe around water is to teach them basic swimming skills.
The American Academy of Pediatrics published its report on drowning deaths and how to prevent them in the July print edition of its journal Pediatrics. (The material was released online in May.) Noting that drowning is the second leading cause of unintentional-injury-related death among kids ages 1 to 19, the AAP urges basic swim lessons for kids 4 and older. And, in a policy shift, the AAP says there may be some value to teaching toddlers basic water skills, too, advising parents to decide for themselves whether to enroll their wee ones in formal classes.
Swim classes can be expensive. But they don't have to be. The Prince George's County Parks and Recreation Department, for instance, offers a number of free programs for county residents.
Of course, since we're nearing the end of summer, many of these classes are full. To tide you over until you can get your kid into a class, here are basic pool safety tips from Montgomery County.
That a 12-year-old boy wasn't able to handle himself well enough in the water to avoid drowning in a swimming pool -- and that his adult relative couldn't, either -- is hard to fathom. It's too late to save either of them. But let's hope their heart-wrenching example will spur others to ensure that they and their loved ones are better equipped.
Jennifer LaRue Huget
July 26, 2010; 7:00 AM ET
Categories: Family Health , Injury prevention , Kids' health , Teens
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