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/
Summer Safety Tips, Part 3
by Tracy Lamperti, LMHC, BCETS
It may seem strange to find the topic of “family dynamics” under Summer Safety Tips, but stay with me on this one.
Holidays are surely a time of stress for many due to increased expectations to spend time with family. Summer, though, in my personal and professional experience is equally stressful, if not more so. The Thanksgiving/Christmas period, at most, usually lasts about 4-6 weeks. Summer, on the other hand, is about 8-12 weeks of expectations of cookouts, Fourth of July parties, beach parties, bonfires, birthdays….and the expectation tends to be, “since it is summer, of course you can come!”
It is my wish that you could enjoy every minute of summer fun, but let me call your attention to “Why Summer Can Be Bad For Kids.” ….not to be a killjoy….
– When parents are stressed, children are stressed. Some children act out (behavioral issues) and some children act in (emotional issues) when their adults are stressed. Talk about plans ahead of time. Your husband might not want to go to your mother’s house for the 3rd week in a row for a cookout. You might want to stay at your mother-in-law’s cookout for 2 hours, not 6.
– If cousin Sally typically has too much to drink and starts wobbling around the guests, better to talk with your husband ahead of time to decide if and how to handle this around your children if it should occur.
– If you are so fortunate as to have mature older cousins as role models for your children that is awesome!
Sadly, all too often, it is an older cousin to leads a younger child astray with negative behavior lessons.
Statistics are becoming overwhelmingly alarming that the numbers of older cousins/youth relatives are luring younger children into both, negative behavior and sexual situations. It is too common that the older cousin relationship is by default a trusted situation; they are family and you are on the property (often they are congregating apart from the adults). However, in this situation, the older youth often knows HOW LIKELY it is that an adult will enter their space. Adults, since they are blindly trusting family, don’t tend to check on the kids. Many of us have very lovely and loving children who would never be that “dangerous cousin,” but don’t take unnecessary chances. It was once a “trusted cousin” who lit the woods on fire and sent the younger children running back for a bucket of water.
Staying Too Long
– Know your child. Know your husband. Know yourself. It’s better to leave wishing it could have stayed longer and longing for the next get-together, than to stay too long. What could be worse than having had a
good time with family and a big fight on the way home because the little ones are melting down.
– Many adults have “issues” with a parent or sibling. For the sake of “family” and “fun” many people set these “issues” to the side. Be aware of buttons that could be pushed and how you plan to handle this. The event could be “uneventful”, i.e. no major blowouts, however you leave feeling terrible.
– When there is lots of family around, it is easier to assume that someone is watching the children at any given time. Not necessarily. Keep an eye on your little ones.
– When there is a lot of commotion, there are likely to be dangers that no one is thinking of; hot grills, knives, open doors or gates, pets, alcoholic beverages….Stay on your toes.
Stress is bad for kids and accidents and oversights are much more likely to occur when there is stress
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