The Pool - study find most children drown while supervised - Mothering Forums
Parenting > The Pool - study find most children drown while supervised
goodcents's Avatar goodcents 01:23 AM 05-31-2004
For all of you with a pool, or heading towards one for these summer months I thought this was an important link

Some excerpts are:
But recent research from the National SAFE KIDS Campaign shows that nearly 9 out of 10 children between ages 1 and 14 who drowned were under supervision when they died. The study defined supervision as being in someone's care, not necessarily in direct line of sight.
and more importantly...

Adequate supervision means not sitting poolside reading, socializing with guests, chatting on the phone, operating the grill or listening to music with a headset. Such distractions are deadly, child trauma experts said.
Watching means WATCHING!!!!

goodcents's Avatar goodcents 09:47 PM 06-13-2005
I posted this thread last year.

It is as relevant this year - please read it. You may save a child's life.
juliebuggie's Avatar juliebuggie 05:38 PM 06-15-2005
Great information thanks so much for posting!
maya44's Avatar maya44 06:28 PM 06-15-2005
This is so important. Me and my close friend are fiends about this and everyone else thinks we are crazy.

Even with our older ones (age 11) we like to keep a close watch.

As my friend said about her dd "I know that when Anna is 18, I won't have to watch her in the pool, but I don't believe it."
Fleurette's Avatar Fleurette 08:05 PM 06-15-2005
thanks for the reminder! My dd almost drowned last year when she decided to 'swim' by floating, face down into the water while I was attending to one of the twins. It was the scariest moment of my life. Thank goodness she was fine, but it scared the pants off me! I'm right there in the pool with the kids every time...even if I do look hideous in a bathing suit! :LOL
abac's Avatar abac 10:44 PM 06-15-2005
I couldn't agree more. A couple of years ago, my sister and I were at a pool with her 2 year old ds. She told him he couldn't be near the pool without an adult by him. I was sitting directly beside him and he leaned forward to get something and fell in. He sank fast. I grabbed him and pulled him out and he started screaming. My sister looked over and said "oh, why's he crying?" She had no idea what had just happened. It happened so fast and made no sound at all. Don't look away for a second.
hypatia's Avatar hypatia 01:20 AM 06-16-2005
Once when I was lifeguarding a two-year-old fell into the pool in my area and I did not see any of it. Luckily his mom was watching and pulled him out right away, but it scared me to death to miss that entire incident. It's really hard as a lifeguard in a busy pool to keep track of everything that's going on.
emmasmommy's Avatar emmasmommy 12:55 PM 06-16-2005
I'm a former lifeguard as well, and I am really happy for parents in the above story that do watch their kids. BUT there were so many parents that will come to the pool and put a life jacket on their 3-4 year old and then sit in the hot tub while the poor kid fends for him/herself. When that would happen, I would ask the child if they were there is mommy or daddy and where they were. I would then take the child to the parent and remind the parent that our rule is that all children under 7 must be in arms reach of a parent at all times. Because of my experience working in pools I am super vigilant about watching dd in the water.
mamalisa's Avatar mamalisa 02:33 PM 06-16-2005
I read something last year that more kids drown when supervised by more than one adult. I guess it's the idea that "oh she's watching them" and the other person thinks "oh, he's watching them". The last time I went to the pool with ds and my sil we took turns watching him, by actually saying, "I've got him now". It made me feel so much better to know that one of us was actually watching and not just "keeping an eye on him".
EnviroBecca's Avatar EnviroBecca 03:30 PM 06-16-2005
Seems to me that one contributing factor, at least for older kids, may be that kids are less careful if they feel someone else is responsible for their safety. Two things I remember from my childhood:

1. My neighbors had a pool in their backyard, which both my family and my best friend's family (also neighbors) were allowed to use. Once I was about 10 years old and my brother and I could swim well, we were allowed to go over there unsupervised. My friend was not allowed to go unless one of her parents was there. When I went swimming w/my friend, supervised, I took a lot more risks and did not keep an eye on my brother. Unsupervised, I was much more careful of both myself and him.

2. We often went to a park where there were two places to swim: a pool with a lifeguard, and a creek with a sign said "Swim at your own risk." I asked my parents about the sign, and they said it meant, "There's no lifeguard, so it's your responsibility not to drown." My parents were always with us both places, but I was a lot more careful in the creek than in the pool.

The Continuum Concept suggests that even very young children are at higher risk of injury when an adult is hovering and frequently discouraging "dangerous" behavior, than when they feel in control of the situation themselves. I'm not sure if I believe that or not.
Greaseball's Avatar Greaseball 04:08 PM 06-17-2005
I belong to an online support group for people who have lost relatives to drowning. Most of the members are parents who have lost young children in backyard pools. The stories are all the same - the pool had a fence. The child had been told to stay away from the pool. The child knew how to swim. The child was afraid of water, so would never have gone near the pool anyway. The parent just had to run inside for a few minutes. The child was with a sibling. There was even one where an 18-month-old drowned in a hot tub while wearing a life jacket.

I don't blame the parents; I think they really thought they knew what they were doing. Some parents just have low standards of supervision. My dh is one. It seems like every day I come home and see my yarn strewn around the bedroom, and dh says "I don't know how it happened; I was watching them!" Just a few days ago I came out of the bathroom and the front door to the house was open and both girls were in the unfenced front yard alone. I gathered them inside and shut the door and my dh insisted he was watching them and doesn't know how they got outside. I think he really believes he is providing adequate supervision, but his standards are very low.

I would not risk owning a pool or hot tub, and would not allow my child to attend pool parties. I don't even want them in swimming lessons, since I can't find a swim instructor who will allow me to be in the water (or even in the pool area at all) while my children are there.

Leaving a child alone in or near a pool for a few minutes is not like leaving them in the car while you run to pay for gas. I think it's an area where parents cannot be too careful.
shelbean91's Avatar shelbean91 04:14 PM 06-17-2005
I was at an education fair or something where the fire dept ws passing out information- one thing they were giving out were pool passes, that an adult would wear when they were the one responsible for watching the kids- to help reduce the 'i thought the other was watching'.

We just got an above ground pool and ds fell in the first day. He was sitting on the ladder- dd was swimming with her life vest while dh watched from about 10 feet away. He turned his head, turned back to see ds leaning over to grab something, then fall in. Ds was underwater for all of 2 seconds and it was completely silent.
Greaseball's Avatar Greaseball 04:21 PM 06-17-2005
Another good point. A lot of people think that they can just listen for any splashing and thrashing...but drowning is usually a silent killer. Some of the women in my group say that their child drowned in the presence of others, and it was not noticeable to the others at all. It just looked like the child was swimming and then he never came back up.

Humans weren't meant to be that great in the water. If my kids never go swimming at all, I'm not going to feel like I deprived them of anything.
WinterWillow's Avatar WinterWillow 04:22 PM 06-17-2005
Thank you for this post! I needed the reminder! I was going to let my sister take my DD to a community pool that is a mini water park. But i kept having a bad feeling about it then i saw this post. I know my sister thinks she will watch Jaylin carefully but the fact is a couple of her friends will be there and i'm sure she will get distracted. Anyways, Thank you!
WinterWillow's Avatar WinterWillow 04:22 PM 06-17-2005
Oh DD will not be going!
TigerTail's Avatar TigerTail 05:16 PM 06-17-2005
not swimming at all? but leaving them in the car to 'run in' and pay for gas? hmmn, hm, biting my tongue...

(glad i grew up, swimming supervised and given lessons, in socal! i wouldn't make my kids miss out on the ability and joy of bobbing in a warm ocean- not socal, lol- for all the assurances in the world. cripes, envirobecca has a point. i do hover to an extent, but they need to be able to splash & have fun- i'll do the worrying & watching, they can just have fun. moderation in all things. except leaving small kids alone in the car to 'run in' any store.)

pool safety is well & good. but not teach 'em to swim? people fall off piers & bluffs, get caught in flash floods, etc. bad enough if you can swim & at least have a chance!

yikes, i've said more than i wanted to. but dang. i am not a chimp, to sink like a stone. i am the erect primate that likes shellfish. :LOL

Greaseball's Avatar Greaseball 05:24 PM 06-17-2005
Actually, most children who drown do know how to swim and have had lessons. Swimming lessons teach you how to swim in a public pool. They don't teach you how to swim after being pitched out of a boat in near-freezing water while you are fully clothed. Even life jackets are not made to help people who have fallen into the water while wearing them; they are made for people who are already in the water. In many drowning situations, knowing how to swim would not have saved the victim.

FTR, I would never leave my kids in the car while I paid for gas, but a lot of moms say they do this because "they don't want to hover over them all the time." Well, neither do I, but in the water, I will. They can take swimming lessons if they want, but only if I can be in the water with them at all times.
KermitMissesJim's Avatar KermitMissesJim 05:52 PM 06-17-2005
My kids are 5 and 2.5. We are in the water with them at all times, and I would not consider doing it any other way, as tempting as the hot tub is. Dh and I take turns going to the hot tub.

When I was 13, through the Red Cross swimming lessons I took, I learned how to survive being thrown into deep water fully clothed. The water was not "freezing" or "churning" but I found it to be a valuable course, particularly learning the survival stroke, which is designed to use next to no energy so you can survive while waiting to be rescued.
Ruthla's Avatar Ruthla 06:16 PM 06-17-2005
I remember taking a swimming class in 5th or 6th grade. One of the lessons involved going into the water with heavy clothes on (with a bathing suit underneath) to get "real life" practice in taking off heavy wet clothing in the water and swimming to safety.

We used to have a backyard pool. It was above-ground and we took the ladder off the outside of the pool when we weren't using it. I wouldn't let the kids play in the backyard if the ladder was in place (unless there was DIRECT adult supervision.)

I signed my girls up for swimming lessons at the public pool a few years ago- I think when they were 5 and 6. The way it was set up, the section of the pool where the lessons were going on was NOT crowded, and there were about 5 kids to each instructor (certified lifeguards.) I felt safe because the lifeguard/swim teacher KNEW that he/she was in charge of those 5 kids. When they had free play in the pool, we used the buddy system- in ADDITION to the parents nearby and the lifeguards on duty, each child stayed with another child, ready to alert an adult should something dangerous happen.
shelbean91's Avatar shelbean91 06:36 PM 06-17-2005
Ruthla--those are great ideas to help with the safety stuff.

Our above ground pool has flip up legs that we secure and we've taken everything out of the yard that could be used to climb up and into the pool- and we're looking at getting a pool fence in addition to all that.

In AZ, there are drownings about every week or so, it seems. So scary, I almost didn't agree to getting the pool.
TigerTail's Avatar TigerTail 03:44 PM 06-18-2005
ah, gotcha, greasy. makes sense, i agree. (and yeah, they threw us 4 yr olds in the pool with sweats & boots on. this was the swim instructor dr dobson praises in his books :LOL that gives you an idea. i think he used to be a marine drill instructor. but i swim like a fish <g> AND know my limits.)


ps people in my neighborhood keep above-ground pools in unfenced yards. freaks me out, being from the land of inground pools & 8 ft fences. one little girl was found drowned under the pool cover a few years back- and get this- the family used THE SAME BABYSITTER under whose care this happened, because they blamed the toddler, not her!!!

mommyofshmoo's Avatar mommyofshmoo 11:43 PM 06-18-2005
I spent a lot of time around pools as a kid and I had younger siblings, so my dd drowning is my greatest fear. (I used to have nightmares about my brothers drowning under my care because it was such a scary- not to mention likely sounding- concept to me as a child.)

That said- I learned to swim pretty much when i learned to walk and I think that learning to swim, and learning to swim fluently, is a very important skill.

Knowing how to swim will not ensure you won't ever drown, but it'll definately decrease your chances.

Also, swimming is fun.

But in order to learn to swim well, kids need to spend a lot of time in the water. 1 hour swim lesson per week won't teach anyone to swim well enough to avoid drowning- especially not a child.

I beleive that swimming is like learning a language- the easiest way to become fluent is to learn as a child.

I guess my feeling is that it's hard, but important, to give kids the opportunity to be in the water a lot, under close supervision untill they learn to swim like fish. It's a lofty goal, but if you want your child to be safe near the water, tyou need to teach him or her about the water and allow him or her the time to learn.
Breathless Wonder's Avatar Breathless Wonder 12:58 PM 05-11-2007
Bumping because this is important!
Mountaingirl3's Avatar Mountaingirl3 08:39 PM 05-11-2007
Originally Posted by mommyofshmoo View Post
Knowing how to swim will not ensure you won't ever drown, but it'll definately decrease your chances.

Also, swimming is fun.

But in order to learn to swim well, kids need to spend a lot of time in the water. 1 hour swim lesson per week won't teach anyone to swim well enough to avoid drowning- especially not a child.

I beleive that swimming is like learning a language- the easiest way to become fluent is to learn as a child.

I guess my feeling is that it's hard, but important, to give kids the opportunity to be in the water a lot, under close supervision untill they learn to swim like fish. It's a lofty goal, but if you want your child to be safe near the water, tyou need to teach him or her about the water and allow him or her the time to learn.

ITA. This is why our kids never used floaties, inner tubes or life jackets in the pool. They learned to swim across the pool, tread water, and float on their backs by their 4th birthdays. We let them jump off the side, go under and then we would guide them up, starting when they were 1. It helps to have a warm pool where they are relaxed (at least 86-88). And, we always had one adult in the pool totally focussed on each child.

I think that confidence and ability in the water paired with safety education (esp. regarding ocean/lakes/rivers) is the way to go. Swimming is great fun and awesome exercise and wears out our high energy kids.