Child drownings in open waters are on the rise. This is very important news for those who plan outings this spring and summer to oceans, lakes and rivers. Although awareness about pool safety and child drownings has helped to keep kids safe, the dangers of open waters are now in the forefront due to a study that was just published by a childhood safety organization. More kids are drowning in open waters than in pools.
Safe Kids Worldwide has just issued a report that every parent should review. Drowning rates for kids have increased since 2011 to more than 1,000. But the report makes it clear that these numbers do not tell the whole story. Many kids and families also experience non-fatal drownings. These are estimated to be at about 7,000 kids and they are not necessarily reported as a child may be rescued on site or visit an ER. Near-drownings which can also cause serious injury, brain damage and other problems for children, are not being tracked. Prevention is key. The report is timely as we approach the swimming season.
Here is the big warning: just because your child or teen is able to swim well in a pool, does NOT mean they will be able to manage open water swimming. This is borne out by the numbers which show that these drownings are on the rise. The greatest danger is for boys, with an increasing risk as kids get older. The concern is that parents and others simply assume that a child is safe if he or she is a good pool swimmer.