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Saving your child in the water: Children drowning is fatal, but it can be prevented in 100%of cases

We were at the pool, swimming with my Little Shark and Little Fish. It was morning with no crowd. I was watching them enjoying it... The moment of bliss was interrupted by a scream "Vladaaa, a baby is floating!" I got horrified. I could see a baby in the shallows floating with the face down. There was no one around. I jumped running towards the baby. I could hear a whistle sound. A lifeguard jumped in and took the baby out. Three other guys gathered and a doctor too.. I was taking my children aside. The situation was full of tension. I could seem them doing the reanimation, and then the doctor took baby away and the lifeguard got back to his duty! Confused, I was looking for an explanation… I approached a man next to the pool wearing a T- shirt with a Supervision print. With a smile on his face told me: "This was an exercise...". I felt such a relief, though it all was so realistic.

The most often victims of drowning are children.

What if this hadn’t been a life-saving exercise in the pool?

Children’s pools are ankle-deep. There were colourful balls floating, and children were splashing each other. Some parents were with their children in the pool, some were sitting at the pool’s edge. There was only one lifeguard on duty. I was watching what my children were doing. Little Shark was three at that time, and Little Fish was two. I was keeping an eye on them. They were splashing each other. A boy of around three joined the play, wearing inflatable armbands. His mom and dad were with him, but at one point they turned away from him engaged in a talk. I keep repeating this, parents make a huge mistake by putting inflatable armbands on their children thinking they are safe to play in the pool. As I was about to remove the children’s toys aside while looking back at my kids (it was a matter of seconds) I could see the lifeguard literally jumping out of his slippers into the pool. The boy wearing the armbands had slipped and started wiggling with his face in the water. He couldn’t get out of the water because of his armbands… His parents were still chatting as the whole thing was happening... This wasn’t an exercise! Luckily, this story had a happy ending.

It’s encouraging to know that there still are those who are really observing and reacting on time! In both cases, the timely reaction of the lifeguards was vital. But the responsibility doesn’t lie only with the lifeguards, but with all of us, including the parents.

The mistakes made by the parents of that three-year-old boy which increased the risk of drowning in the pool are the following:

- The boy was not at their arm’s reach - They put the armbands on the boy and got relaxed - They turned their back to the child in the water, started chatting, so that they couldn’t either    see or hear the child because of the noise and other children splashing in the pool - They hadn’t talked with their child about possible danger - They relied more on the others to take care of their child

This is something which happens quite often. Parents can be physically with their children in the pool, or next to it, but mentally they often aren’t there, and it happens that they don’t even notice the signs showing them their child is in danger. It may sound cruel, but it’s true that drowning often comes in silence, taking away the dearest ones, in a blink of an eye. The most often victims of drowning are children. When it happens, then it’s too late to do anything. So, never take your eyes off your children when they’re in the water or around it, because a second of carelessness can be fatal!

Drowning is fatal, but it can be prevented in 100% of cases

Bear in mind that prevention and education of professional staff, parents, children, entire families about safety in water can possibly save someone’s life! Apart from that, we need to realise that swimming is not only a summer adventure, but a life skill every child should master. Regardless of the season, prevention and safety of children in the water, at the pool is the number one priority, 365 days a year!

How can we increase the safety of children in the water and around it!

Everybody has a role in the process of prevention and education to increase the safety of children in the water. These are some of them:

- Swimmers and non-swimmers: No matter if children know how to swim or are beginners, non-swimmers, they should have in mind what they can and what they must not do in and near the water (no pushing or ducking others…). They should master the basic life-saving skills through a play: turning to a side, flip turns on the surface and underwater, floating with and without props and how to behave after jumping or falling into the water. - Swimming coaches: Their task is not only to teach them how to swim, but also to teach them how to feel safe in the water and around it. To teach them how to act according to the rules of conduct at the pool. - Lifeguards and expert service: They need to have frequent examinations of knowledge and skills. They need to have the “eyes on the back of their heads” and a clear picture of the entire pool. They need to be well organised and have developed emergency plans and work as a team. - Parents: Every time your children go to a swimming pool with their friend, remind them that they must be aware of the fact that they are not lifeguards. In those situations, they need to give their maximum, but put their own safety first, to avoid a double tragedy. When you’re with them at the pool, make sure they are always at your arm’s reach, and keep an eye on them all the time… - Grandmas, aunts, uncles, family… are also there to tell them over and over again and educate the children to look after themselves and others whenever they are in or around the water.. - Media outlets: They should not only tend to bring sensations and reports, but to perform their educational role of the wide public. They should not talk about these topics only when something bad happens, but be constantly engaged and raise awareness about safety both in the water and outside of it… - Government: It should ensure optimal conditions that every child and individual can swim and be safe in the water. A country without non-swimmers is a country of healthy people and people who feel safe in the water…

- Drowning is the third main cause of death worldwide 

- In most cases, the first cause of death in children age up to four, and the second cause in children age between 5 and 19 - 69 % of children age between 12 and 36 months drown while not in swim lessons - A child of 15 kg can drown in less than 30 seconds! - Around 50% of children drowning happens at public pools. On the other hand, fatal drowning, apart from public pools, occurs at home pools.

Life is more beautiful when you’re swimming!


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