Friday, June 14th, 2013
Formal swimming lessons, conducted by a certified instructor, may be the key to reducing the number of child drownings in the U.S. Drowning is the second leading cause of death in children ages 1 to 19, and although it is established that lessons give children the skills they need to survive in the water, access to those resources is often restricted in lower income and minority communities. More from The New York Times:
Huge numbers of children are unable to swim, which largely explains why drowning is the second leading cause of death among children ages 1 to 19. Three years ago, the American Academy of Pediatrics updated its policy, reinforcing its advice that children ages 4 and older should learn to swim but also noting that children ages 1 to 4 are less likely to drown if they have had formal swimming lessons.
Furthermore, very young children who are comfortable in water are likely to be easier to teach to swim when they are ready to learn formal strokes.
According to the USA Swimming Foundation, about 70 percent of African-American children, 60 percent of Latino children and 40 percent of white children are nonswimmers. Lack of access and financial constraints account only partly for these numbers. Fear, cultural factors and even cosmetic issues play a role as well.
“Before the Civil War, more blacks than whites could swim,” Lynn Sherr, the author of “Swim: Why We Love the Water,” said in an interview. “There are many stories of shipwrecks in which black slaves rescued their owners.”
But as Ms. Sherr learned from Bruce Wigo of the International Swimming Hall of Fame, segregation destroyed the aquatic culture of the black community. “Once whites discovered swimming, blacks were increasingly excluded from public pools and lifeguarded beaches,” Mr. Wigo told her.
As a result, many minority parents never learned how to swim. Adults who can’t swim often fear the water and, directly or indirectly, convey that fear to their children.
Image: Child swimming, via Shutterstock
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Friday, June 7th, 2013
At least eight children have died this spring, mostly under the age of 2, because they have been left or trapped inside hot cars. This news, released by the advocacy group KidsAndCars.org, is a renewed wake-up call for parents and caregivers to be mindful not to leave young children unattended in or near cars on hot days. More from NBC News:
That includes seven deaths in May alone, nearly double the typical number of heatstroke deaths during the month involving kids forgotten or neglected in vehicles, according to the advocacy group KidsAndCars.org. It provides a devastating reminder of the consequences of distraction and stress.
“It has everything to do with our brains letting us down at the worst possible moment,” said Janette Fennell, president and founder of the group that works to raise awareness about the dangers of hot cars.
One child has died so far in June, a 2-year-old Escambia, Fla. boy, Hezekiah Brooks, who went missing Sunday on a 92-degree day and was found four hours later on the floorboards of his grandfather’s car with the windows rolled up, police said.
Most deaths occurred when otherwise well-meaning parents or caregivers failed to notice that kids were still in the cars.
The May deaths occurred in four states over about two weeks, starting with the May 10 accident involving a 5-month-old girl who was left in a car at Riverside High School in El Paso, Texas. Her mother, Wakesha Ives, 37, is a teacher at the school, according to news reports. El Paso law enforcement officials told NBC News they’re still investigating the case.
To date, 567 children have died after being left in cars in the U.S. since 1998, according to figures from the Department of Geosciences at San Francisco State University, which tracks reports.
Image: Child in car, via Shutterstock
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Monday, March 18th, 2013
Walt Disney World and Disneyland theme parks and resorts will, beginning March 23, no longer allow children under age 14 to enter the park unless they are accompanied by someone who is over age 14. The new rule isn’t a response to any particular incident, but it was put in place after visitor surveys and child welfare organizations both expressed concern about the safety of children who are unaccompanied in the parks. More from The Associated Press:
“If a cast member who is working at the front gates sees a guest who appears to be younger than 14 without someone who appears to be older than that, they will engage in a conversation with the guest,” Disney spokeswoman Suzi Brown told NBC4.
The employee will verbally determine whether the guest is too young to enter on his or her own, since children that age typically do not carry identification with them, she said. The child’s parent or guardian would then be contacted if the visitor is underage, and that adult would need to physically come accompany the child into the park.
Disney chose the age of 14 after the company surveyed its guests and reached out to organizations that deal with child welfare, Brown said. She said both the organizations and visitors agreed on the new age limit.
“That was the age they felt was appropriate,” she said. “That’s also the age the Red Cross recommends for babysitting.”
Image: Girl in amusement park, via Shutterstock
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Tuesday, November 27th, 2012
The number of injuries that have happened on bouncy houses and other inflatable play structures is on the increase, growing 15-fold between 1995 and and 2010. A new study detailing the rise in injuries has led researchers to suggest that the government regulate the structures.
From a Nationwide Children’s Hospital press release announcing the study, which will be published in the journal Pediatrics:
A new study by researchers at the Center for Injury Research and Policy of The Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital examined pediatric injuries associated with inflatable bouncers, such as bounce houses and moonwalks. Researchers found that from 1995 to 2010 there was a 15-fold increase in the number of inflatable bouncer-related injuries that were treated in U.S. emergency departments among children younger than 18 years of age. In 2010 alone, more than 30 children per day, or about one child every 45 minutes, were treated in hospital emergency departments for injuries associated with inflatable bouncers.
“The findings from this study show that there has been an alarming increase in the number of injuries from inflatable bouncers,” said Gary A. Smith, MD, DrPH, director of the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children’s Hospital. “It is time for us to take action to prevent these injuries. Ensuring that parents are aware of the potential risks, improving surveillance of the injuries, developing national safety guidelines and improving bouncer design are the first steps.”
Image: Bouncy house, via Shutterstock
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Thursday, November 1st, 2012
An Alabama girl got a stern lecture from local police after she placed an ad on Craigslist offering her 12-year-old brother for sale for $1,200. The prank was more than simply not funny, authorities told her, but dangerous. The Huffington Post has more:
Many kids joke about selling their little siblings. But one Alabama girl took the threat a bit too far.
“12-year-old joyfull [sic] little boy (real) needing a good home, and caring people to be around,” the now-deleted Craigslist ad read. The sale price? A cool $1,200.
Unfortunately, the intended joke fell flat on the authorities who gave the teen behind the ad a stern lecture, WAFF 48 News reported.
“[What] kids and parents need to realize is when you do something like this, you can lure the wrong kind of person, and you’re endangering the child by putting their image out there,” Mike Holt of the Florence Police Department told the TV station.
The ad looked legitimate and authorites feared it was the real deal.
The siblings, who were not named or charged with a crime, were identified by their grandmother, who brought them to the police station when she discovered the prank.
Image: Hands typing, via Shutterstock
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