Nearly 90 percent of the more than 900 children who drown each year were being supervised by someone at the time, reports a study by the National SAFE KIDS Campaign and Johnson & Johnson. "Drowning is silent and happens quickly," says Angela Mickalide, PhD, the program director for SAFE KIDS. "You need to actively supervise children. In many drowning cases, parents were distracted -- talking on the phone, reading, or simply closing their eyes and relaxing." Also keep in mind:
- Water wings and other inflatable toys are not safety devices. They can fall off, and your child will sink, says Mickalide.
- Surround your pool with four-sided fencing that is self-latching and self-closing. This will help prevent kids from toddling into the pool area when you're not looking.
- Before age 4, swimming classes are designed to get kids comfortable with water, not to teach them how to swim. "Just because your 2-year-old has had swimming lessons doesn't mean he can save himself," says Mickalide.
Originally published in American Baby magazine, July 2004.
All content here, including advice from doctors and other health professionals, should be considered as opinion only. Always seek the direct advice of your own doctor in connection with any questions or issues you may have regarding your own health or the health of others.