An Omaha hospital is seeing a troubling pattern this summer. From June 5th to the 21st, five children involved in near drowning were admitted at Children’s Hospital and Medical Center. Unfortunately one of the children died and Trauma Nurse Coordinator Lisa Reichter says there is a long summer ahead and parents, grandparents, older siblings and babysitters need to know the importance of keeping children away from any standing water.
“Anytime you have more than an inch of water, you can really run into some safety issues and you have to make sure you are watching them closely. The other concern that we have had around here with all the rain, any outside buckets you have, any wading pools you have, anything you have that can collect water is a concern and you want to make sure you are watching children and emptying out that water when they are in those areas.”
Reichter says it is important to teach even young children never to go near or in water without an adult nearby and make sure your child knows how to swim.
“The American Academy of Pediatrics now recommends swimming lessons for all children four years old and older. They really recommend that that getting them started earlier is one of the biggest ways to teach them about the importance of knowing how to swim and being safe around water.”
Just this year, the Academy agreed that lessons as early as age one can be beneficial. (If a parent or guardian can’t swim, this is also a good opportunity to learn how as well.) If swimming lessons are not an option, teach children how to tread water, float and stay near the edge of the pool or shore of a lake.
Reichter says you can not rely on floating devises.
“Even if you have them in the little water wings or the inflatable toys, if your child can’t swim you still need to keep them within an arms reach and please don’t rely on those water wings when they may not actually save your child in a situation where their head may go under water.”
There was a case just last week in Cass County where a 15 year old boy drowned in a quarry lake. Reichter says teenage boys and water don’t mix well either.
“Teenage boys are just as much at risk as little kids because of the fact they either don’t want to admit they can’t swim or can’t swim very well and so they kind of tend to go toward those more dangerous behaviors as teenage boys so it really is a significant concern as well.”
Drowning remains the second leading cause of death for children ages one to 19. 1,100 children died to water accidents in 2006 alone.
Other tips from Children’s Hospital and Medical Center:
– Make sure your backyard pool has a four sided fence and a latch.
– Install a door alarm system to alert you if a child wanders into the pool area unsupervised.
– In the house, make sure you stay within an arm’s reach of your child while near the bathtub, toilet, spa or even cleaning bucket.
– Never leave your child for a minute during bath time.
– Drain the tub immediately after all baths.
– Learn CPR and know how to respond to all water emergencies.