Newark, NJ--Thousands of swimmers are flocking to the Jersey Shore and to local pools this summer, and families should be mindful of the danger of drowning for children of all ages. Drowning is the second leading cause of accidental death for persons aged 5 to 44, according to the United States Lifesaving Association (USLA).
“For children in the one- to two-year age range, drowning is the leading cause of injury death,” says Joshua Rosenblatt, MD, Chairman of Pediatrics at Children’s Hospital of New Jersey at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center. “For every ten children who die by drowning, 140 are treated in emergency rooms, and 36 are admitted for further treatment, and may suffer long-term disability.”
Children’s Hospital of New Jersey and the USLA offer the following swimming safety tips for children and families:
- Swim Near A Lifeguard: The chance of drowning at a beach without lifeguard protection is almost five times as great as drowning at a beach with lifeguards.
- Learn To Swim: Learning to swim is the best defense against drowning. Teach children to swim at an early age. Children who are not taught tend to avoid swim instruction as they age, probably due to embarrassment.
- Never Swim Alone: Many drownings involve single swimmers. When you swim with a buddy, if one of you has a problem, the other may be able to help, including signaling for assistance from others.
- Don't Fight the Current: 80 percent of rescues by lifeguards at beaches are caused by rip currents. Swimmers in a riptide should follow these measures:
- Stay calm, tread water or float- call or wave for assistance
- Don't swim against the current
- Swim parallel to shore when in the rip current
- Once out of the current, swim directly to shore
- Leash Your Board: Surfboards and bodyboards should be used only with a leash. Leashes are usually attached to the board and the ankle or wrist. With a leash, the user will not become separated from the floatation device.
- Don't Float When You Can't Swim: Non-swimmers often use floatation devices, like inflatable rafts, to go offshore. If they fall off, they can quickly drown. No one should use a floatation device unless they are able to swim.
- Life Jackets = Boating Safety: Some 80 percent of fatalities associated with boating accidents are from drowning. Most involve people who never expected to end up in the water, but fell overboard or ended up in the water when the boat sank. Children are particularly susceptible to this problem.
- Don't Dive Headfirst, Protect Your Neck: Serious injuries, including paraplegia, occur every year due to diving headfirst into unknown water and striking the bottom. Check for depth before diving.
- At Home, You're the Lifeguard: Drowning is the leading cause of accidental death in many states for children age one and two. Many of these deaths occur in the few moments it takes a parent to answer a telephone or doorbell. NEVER leave a child alone anywhere near a pool. Make sure it is completely fenced and that there is no access from the home to the pool.
- A daily rip current outlook is issued by many National Weather Service offices. Visit Surf Zone Forecast.
Newark Beth Israel Medical Center, (NBIMC), a 673-bed regional care teaching hospital, provides comprehensive health care to its local communities and well beyond. NBIMC has more than 800 physicians, 3,200 employees and 150 volunteers with over 300,000 outpatient visits and 25,000 admissions annually. NBMI is fifth in the nation in the number of heart transplants with better than expected outcomes, has the only lung transplant program in New Jersey, and combined with Saint Barnabas Medical Center, both Saint Barnabas Health Care System affiliates, is third in the nation for kidney transplants, by volume. To learn more, visit us on line at www.newarkbeth.com
Children's Hospital of New Jersey, located at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center and part of the Saint Barnabas Health Care System, is the state's premier hospital caring for children, with specialized services to treat ill and injured children from newborn to adolescent years and has the most comprehensive pediatric cardiac care program in the region as well as preventive programs that promote wellness in the community. For a referral to a pediatrician or pediatric specialist, please call 1-888-724-7123.
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July 11, 2012
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