During the past year the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has emphasized that drowning risk may increase due to people staying at home more often and visiting lakes, beaches and other bodies of water in an effort to be outside more. With warmer temperatures and summer just around the corner many Tennessee families will head to their nearest watering hole for some fun. The AAP is urging parents and caregivers to plan multiple layers of protection to keep children and teens safe around the water. It's important to note that during the COVID-19 pandemic, children are spending a lot more time at home with caregivers who may be easily distracted by other responsibilities and work. AAP's layers of protection include;
All children and adults should learn to swim. If swim lessons are suspended in your area due to coronavirus, it is important to add other layers of protection until your child can access lessons.
- Close, constant, attentive supervision around water is important. Assign an adult ‘water watcher,’ who should not be distracted by work, socializing, or chores.
- Around the house, empty all buckets, bathtubs and wading pools immediately after use. If you have young children, keep the bathroom door closed, and use toilet locks to prevent access.
- Pools should be surrounded by a four-sided fence, with a self-closing and self-latching gate. Research shows pool fencing can reduce drowning risk by 50%. Additional barriers can include door locks, window locks, pool covers and pool alarms.
- Adults and older children should learn CPR.
- Everyone, children and adults, should wear US Coast Guard-approved life jackets whenever they are in open water, or on a watercraft.
- Parents and teens should understand how using alcohol and drugs increases the risk of drowning while swimming or boating.
The leading cause of death due to unintentional injury for Tennessee children between 1 and 4-years-old is drowning. It’s a fact the Hughes family wishes they would’ve known. Levi Hughes, 3, drowned in June 2018 while on vacation with his family. The Hughes are sharing Levi’s story to educate parents and save another child’s life. Watch their story below.
Learn more about Levi, the Hughes family and their foundation called Levi’s Legacy.
The American Academy of Pediatrics has several drowning prevention resources:
· Drowning prevention campaign toolkit