There are two critical skills that every person who is physically capable must possess. The first is the ability to swim and the second is having the ability to perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).
Drowning is the leading cause of death of children under five in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, for every child under 15 years old who dies from drowning, another 10 receive emergency care for submersion injuries. It is important to recognize the risk to children and give them the skills to survive water-related emergencies. It is also important to note that swimming pools account for the majority of child drowning cases.
There was a recent case here in Ceres where a very young child accidently ended up in the family pool and drowned. Owing to prompt action by family members, the child was rescued, CPR was administered and now the prognosis for the child's complete recovery is very good. The lesson we learn from children drowning, especially in swimming pools, is that the absolute best insurance for their safety is to ensure they possess swimming and water survival skills. Infants as young as six months old can be taught to survive in water and many parents enroll their babies and toddlers in water survival classes.
Swimming lessons are relatively inexpensive, worth every penny, and are offered by private companies, through the YMCA, and in some cases, through local city recreation programs.
Children should always wear life vests when around any body of water or river. And homes that have pools need adequate fencing to prevent falls into the water. Doors leading from a home to the pool should be equipped with alarms so adults can hear a child who may be venturing out toward the pool. Many pool owners are investing in water motion detectors that use sensors that monitor the pool water so an alarm sounds when the water is displaced.
CPR is a must, an absolutely a critical skill. CPR training can be obtained from a variety of easy to find sources in virtually every community. The application of CPR skills is not limited to just drowning cases. People who have fallen, have had a heart attack, and other medical emergencies may well require the performance of CPR. I urge everyone to obtain the training - parents and caregivers especially. Children who are old enough should also have the training and go through the recertification process when their CPR cards expire.