With Summer here on Cape Cod it is important to practice #WaterSafety and be able to recognize the signs of Secondary Drowning! As parents, we never want to see anything happen to our wonderful children but with water sometimes we have limited control. We have covered some important topics before regarding Water Safety but it is important to focus on Secondary Drowning as this can occur anywhere from 1-24 hours after having being exposed, which means it can really sneak up on you if you do not know what to look for.
"Secondary Drowning (and near-drowning) is one of the post-immersion respiratory syndromes. It is defined as deterioration of pulmonary function that follows deficient gas exchange due to loss or inactivation of surfactant."
This basically means a person (children or an adult) inhales even a small gush of water (bath, pool, lake or ocean) it can irritate the lungs and cause swelling. Usually very little water is present in the lungs when secondary drowning occurs, but the small amount of liquid is enough to hinder the lungs ability to provide oxygen to the bloodstream.
The definition of secondary drowning is a matter of controversy and the term is probably inappropriate. Secondary drowning is a misnomer because victims who develop acute respiratory distress syndrome after drowning have not had a second submersion episode.
According to the WHO, "Drowning is the process of experiencing respiratory impairment from submersion/immersion in liquid." This definition does not imply fatality, or even the necessity for medical treatment after removal of the cause, nor that any fluid necessarily enters the lungs." The WHO recommends though that this term not be used as really what is occurring is drowning, the term secondary can be misleading. But for lack of a better way to help people understand "Secondary Drowning" is the term used by the general public.
Secondary Drowning can happen after being at the beach, pond, pool or even the bathtub so it is important to familiarize yourself with the signs and symptoms as it just might help you save a life later!
The Pool Safely campaign and USA Swimming released statistics in June 2014 on drowning deaths in spas and pools in the U.S. According to their data there have already been 95 drowning deaths through May 31 in children under 14. Seventy-four of these deaths involved children under five. They do not track how many of these deaths were from secondary drowning.
"Dr. Paul Pepe, of the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, said although this is an uncommon scenario it does happen. He said three or four hours later children who fall into a pool can develop pulmonary edema even if rushed to the emergency room immediately. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) does not differentiate between drowning and secondary drowning, so statistics on how often the situation occurs are hard to find, although WebMD says it is probably on 1-2 percent of all drownings. However, according to Pepe, drowning is the number one cause of deaths among children under the age of five. He says it takes only “the blink of an eye” for a child to get water in their lungs that can cause drowning. He said that in secondary drowning, pool water can damage the lining of the lungs, essentially causing lung failure hours after the child is out of the pool." (Source)
See this recent news story for one mom who remembered the signs after seeing it on the news and then acted immediately to save her child's life!
By Tracy Martin-Turgeon
When the warm weather starts to roll in to summer, chances are you will go swimming at the beach, a community center or a backyard pool. Basic safety tips are essential to ensure safe swimming. Some tips to help make your summer enjoyable.
Making swimming and water play a priority.
Stay safe in your back yard in swimming pools.
· Teach your children basic swimming tips in your pool.
· Making children aware of pool drains, pipes, ladders that may cause them to become stuck or pulled under water.
· Always have a portable phone close by incase you need to call 911.
· If a child is missing, check the pool first.
· Make sure your pool has a lock and gate when not in use.
· Install pool alarms this could possible save a life.
· Maintain your pool so it is operating properly.
· If possible, enroll your child/children in swimming classes.
Enjoy your summer, use safety tips and caution at all times. Drowning statistics have grown over the years. Make this your top priority as a parent to ensure your child is safe at all times near water. Make sure you have a first aid kit handy, a pair of scissors to cut hair or clothing if they get stuck or entrapped, a portable phone, and a flotation device and you will be on your way to an enjoyable summer.
Tracy Martin-Turgeon has been in the field of early childhood education for 22 years. She started with The Children's Workshop in September 1999 as an assistant director and she is currently Vice President of Operations, overseeing seven facilities throughout Rhode Island and Massachusetts including Bourne and South Dennis. The Children’s Workshop provides quality child care and early education for Infants, Toddlers, PreSchool, PreK, Before & After School and Summer Camp. For more information visit http://www.childrensworkshop.com/
By Nicole Chiello
Swimming is an activity that is loved by children of all ages. As summer approaches, it’s important to think about being safe in the water and at the beach. If you are a parent or guardian, being at the water with your children can be a fun, but stressful time. There are definitely some things you need to think about before you venture to the pool (or beach!)
What are some general things I should remember when I am at the water with my children?
· Please remember that are large misconceptions when it comes to drowning. It can happen in an instant, and people who are drowning can’t call for help in most cases, as they are trying to breathe. Not all people who are drowning will yell, or wave their hands, or bob up and down in the water.
· Supervision is the #1 priority when water is involved! Children need to be supervised at all times when they are around water of any kind. A good rule of thumb is to remember that children under 5 should be only an arm’s length away from an adult. If you need to leave for whatever reason, make sure your child is with
you – do not leave them even for a minute – because less then a minute is all it takes for a dangerous situation to occur.
· Set rules from the start – and stick to them! If you are at the beach, and you tell them not to go past their knees, have a consequence ready when they do. They are going to test you and if you cave, they are going to continue to test! Set the rules from the get go, and talk about them before you even get there.
· The American Red Cross advocates for the buddy system – even if you are supervising your children, make sure they are always with someone else in the water.
· A flotation device does not replace proper supervision. Just because your child has a life vest on, or tube, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have to supervise them. Nothing replaces the proper supervision of an adult.
· If you own a pool, please abide by all rules and laws about owning one, including fencing, securing, and covering. Please make sure the cover is secure whenever it is not in use. Also, make sure toys are not floating in the pool when there is no one around – colorful toys are often hard to resist for small children and they might unknowingly try to grab them and fall.
How can I educate myself on proper beach and water safety?
- All caregivers and families should take a basic CPR class so they will be prepared in an emergency situation. This is a very simple way for all caregivers to protect their families and know what to do when an emergency situation arises.
- Enroll yourself and your child in a swim class. Classes are great because a child is there, learning how to swim and getting excited about the water – and at the same time, you and your child are learning about water safety and about how to be safe at all times. It’s a great tool to teach your kids about water safety without them even knowing it. :)
What do I do in an emergency situation?
- Check the water first if you own a pool. If you notice your child is missing, check there quickly first, as time is precious if something has happened to your child in the water.
- Call 911. Always have a phone handy when you are near the water.
- If you own a pool, make sure you have all of the emergency equipment on hand and ready. You shouldn’t have to look, or go far, for anything you might need quickly.
Nicole Chiello is an Education Specialist at The Children’s Workshop. She received a BA in Elementary Education and Psychology from URI. Nicole has been with the team for four years. Before being a director, she was a school-age coordinator, as well as a substitute for the Public Schools. Her favorite thing about working with children is the guarantee
We are in the midst of summer fun and with that comes responsibility for making sure our precious little ones remain safe. It isn't a surprise that this season is also nick named "ER" season. More emergencies happen in these short 3 months then any other time of the year. Most of these emergencies are preventable with the proper precautions! As the saying goes, "Children drown without a sound" couldn't be more haunting and more true. It only takes a few inches of water and few seconds for a child to drown. We as parents can prevent this unfortunate event with a few short safety rules known as the "ABC'S of Pool Safety". This fabulous article is often provided in many First Aid classes, and so as it is the season for swimming... I would like to share them with you.
A- Adult Supervision
Taking the proper precautions to ensure your child's safety is one of the most important steps you can take this summer. If ever you can't find your child, first place you should look is the body of water. Hopefully no one you know will have to encounter such a tragedy as a drowning, but by following these easy steps you can be sure your child will be safe this summer.
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