Swim season is in full swing as the heat is on and the “dog day’s of summer” gripping the U.S. I have heard many news organizations reporting that there are more kids going to emergency rooms for swimming injuries than ever before. Maybe the good news is that more people are swimming and therefore the rising statistics but the increase in injuries may also be related to parents who are not playing close attention to their children while they are swimming.
Researchers reveals an estimated 1.6 million swimming injuries reported in the U.S between 1990 and 2008. The annual rate of swimming injuries among those children 7 years and older increased by 30% during the study period. Kids younger than 17 accounted for about 60% of swimming injuries. That data correlates to about one swimming injury every six minutes (those lifeguards must be tired).
For every 100,000 people who swam yearly, 18 injuries occurred among kids ages 7-17 and 9 injuries among people 17 and older. Research showed that 87% of the injuries happened in and around swimming pools, and 13% occurred in natural bodies of water.
While most of the injuries were cuts, bruises and scrapes from the pool, others were more serious. Children younger than 7 were more likely to require hospitalization and there were more deaths in this younger age group.
Over July 4th weekend in 2013, there were 7 drownings reported my area. There were 2 children who died and several young adults among those 7 drownings. Parents need to be vigilant at all times when swimming with their children and should never be more than arms reach from a young child who is in the water.
Additionally alcohol and water don’t mix! Swimming and boating while drinking alcohol is as deadly as drinking and driving! Parents should never operate a boat while drinking. Several teens as well as young adults recently died due to drowning in our area after they had been partying on boats and no one noticed that they had gone overboard.
Lastly, always wear lifejackets while boating or participating in water sports!Life jackets save lives and may have prevented several deaths had they been worn.
Safe swimming and stay cool!