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The AAP's New Drowning Prevention Recommendations Are Really Important

baby swim lessons

The American Academy of Pediatrics(AAP)’ new drowning prevention recommendations suggest that kids should start swimming lessons by the time they are at least one years old. The AAP’s new swim safety guidelines state that drowning is one of the leading causes of death in children across the nation, with nearly 1,000 deaths in the U.S. each year.

The AAP stresses that swim safety lessons should be made as a priority to parents before their child’s first birthday. That’s because new statistics show that kids up to age 4 are at the highest risk of drowning. Many of the deaths can happen in a matter of seconds, with or without an adult nearby. The deaths also occur when children have unexpected access to water. Further statistics also show that nearly 80 percent of people who die from drowning tend to be male.

Dr. Sarah Denny, an emergency physician at Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus, Ohio and an author of the AAP report, told CBS News, “When a child is in and around water, we need constant attentive supervision, touch supervision, which means they are within an arm's length of that child when they are in the water.”

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The AAP also says that children all of ages, including teenagers, should wear life jackets when they are near bodies of water like lakes and even oceans. Experts also urge that kids should not only learn basic water skills but water safety as well. A drowning can happen at any time, and even at home with both parents present.

Dr. Denny added, “When kids are not expected to be in the water that's when we need those barriers. That's the four-sided isolation fencing that separates the pool from the rest of the house and the yard.”

Some of the AAP’s new guidelines say that parents should never leave their children alone or in the care of another child near a pool, spa or even a bathtub at home. Adults are encouraged to empty out water from buckets and containers – along with inflatable pools and devices – immediately after use. That’s because even a small amount of water can turn out to be hazardous. Also, never leave a young child alone inside a bathroom. Parents should also consider getting toilet locks to prevent drowning, too.

Research has also shown that many people survive a near-drowning incident. Even if a child has been under water for a very long time, it’s possible to save or resuscitate them.

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