water safety

Summer Water Safety

Dear Mr. Dad: One of my family’s favorite things about summer is that we get to spend a lot of time in and around water, whether that’s at the beach or in a swimming pool. But every year I hear about kids (and adults) who drown and I’m really getting worried—especially since two of my children are very young. Are drownings getting more common? And whether they are or not, what can we do to be safe?

A: What you’re describing is called the Baader Meinhof Phenomenon, and it describes the feeling you get when something you just found out about starts popping up everywhere (in much the same way as when you buy a new car, all of a sudden, everyone seems be driving the same make and model). But while there’s definitely a lot more media coverage of drownings and other water-related accidents, the actual numbers are dropping nationwide. For example, in 2014, 346 children under 15 died from drowning in pools and spas, according to the most recent data from the U.S Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC); that’s down from 397 in 2010, a decrease of 13%.

That said, every single one of those deaths is a tragedy—especially when you consider the fact that many were completely preventable. The same goes for the 4,000 or so non-fatal “submersion injuries,” which require emergency room treatment every year. Here are some guidelines (some provided by the CPSC) that should help keep your family safer this summer.

  • Always have a “Water Watcher” to supervise children around the water. This person—a responsible adult or teen—must agree to not read, text, play video games, talk on the phone, or do anything other than carefully watch everyone who’s in or near the pool, spa, or other body of water.

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Armin Brott

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Armin Brott is the proud father of three, a former U.S. Marine, a best-selling author, radio host, speaker, and one of the country’s leading experts on fatherhood. He writes frequently about fatherhood, families, and men's health. Read more about Armin or visit his website, mrdad.com. You can also connect via social media: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest,  and Linkedin.

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