Did you know that May is Drowning Prevention Month? As we head into swimming season, I think water safety is a topic that’s important to revisit every year. Here in Arizona, the news during the summer is all too frequently about children drowning. We’ve probably all heard the phrase, “it only takes a second.” And after dealing with 3rd degree burns on our toddler this past year, I absolutely know firsthand that it does indeed only take a second for a serious accident to happen. When those accidents occur in water, the outcome is too often deadly. So this summer, I want to remind all parents about being vigilant around water! Here is the main thing that EVERY parent should know: DROWING IS SILENT! This needs to be repeated over and over and over again. It’s not like what you see in movies – there’s not a huge scene of flailing and screaming. Kids just slip beneath the surface, often without a sound. It’s happened to my own kids more than once (luckily someone was there to see right away). In fact, a news channel in Minnesota recently aired a whole special investigation about keeping kids safe in the water. I encourage all parents to watch that clip here: Drowning is Silent.
The results of their experiment is shocking – and horrifying. Not a single parent noticed the children “drowning” in the pool. Not one. It took 24 minutes for ANY of the other kids in the pool to notice. TWENTY-FOUR MINUTES! As parents, this is a HUGE reminder that the ONLY sure-fire protection against drowning is 100% attention around water. Not 90%, not 99% – your complete, undivided attention. Being physically there is NOT enough – they can slip beneath the water while sitting right next to you…and you wouldn’t even know. Until it happened to me, I wouldn’t have believed that. I would have assumed I would hear something. But, you don’t hear anything, because it’s silent. And, it happens in a second!
So, be sure that there is ALWAYS an adult giving their undivided attention to the pool (or beach, lake, etc). Designate them as the “water-watcher.” Trade off in 10-15 minute shifts if need be. That person isn’t casually chatting with other adults, not grilling, not reading a book, not on their phone – just watching the water. That vigilance may very well save a life.
Did you know that drowning is silent?