June is National Safety Month

By Sherrie Pratt

We stare danger in the face every day, which is why The National Safety Council created National Safety Month to focus on preventable causes of injury and death.

Water safety is essential year-round. Drowning is the leading cause of injury-related deaths for children between the ages of 1 to 4 years old. It is the 3rd leading cause of unintentional injury-related death in people under age 19.

You’ve most likely heard this before, but we all can become complacent, and with so many distractions now in life, our focus can switch immediately.

Drowning happens without a sound which is why you should NEVER leave a child alone near water, even for a second. Distracted caregivers are a primary factor, which is why supervision is critical. Dr. Mary D’Aunoy, who works at Lakeland Pediatrics, says, “You should keep your eyes on children constantly if they are near or in water and don’t allow yourself to be distracted by anything such as using your cell phone.”

If you have a pool, be prepared! Make sure everyone can swim and create some safeguards. Children should have swimming lessons, which can start as young as age 1. Always watch children when they are near or in water no matter what their swimming skills are. Young children should wear floaties, which can be arm floaties or inserts in swimming suits. Install door chimes or alarms. Pool fencing is best with secure gates and doors. The warnings can be for walls and fencing around the pool, wristbands for personal immersion detectors, and wave sensors.

Dr. D’Aunoy reminds us, “Teach your kids swimming rules: Never swim alone, an adult must be present, walk and do not run when you are near water and no horseplay such as pushing people into the pool.”

You should empty tubs, buckets, containers, and kiddie pools immediately after use and store them upside down to prevent water from collecting in them. Young children can drown in less than 2 inches of water, including places like sinks, toilets, fountains, and small bodies of standing water.

Aside from the pool, keep some of these tips in mind when visiting larger bodies of water. Remember the dangers of the ocean, as riptides can quickly take you away from the shore and when boating everyone should be wearing their life jacket and not just have one available.

We hope you and your family have an enjoyable and SAFE Summer!