Supervision Training: Preventing Drowning in Child Care
Workshop Information & Schedule
Is this really
such a huge problem?
the second leading cause of death in children ages 1-14 in the United
States. However, in New Hampshire, drowning is tied for #1, as the leading
cause of death in children ages 1-14. It is tied with motor vehicle
traffic deaths. (Source: CDC 2003 statistics, released Fall 2005)
For each drowning
death, it is estimated that at least 1 to 4 children suffer a serious
nonfatal submersion event, many of which leave children with permanent
disabilities. (Source: Pediatrics , Vol. 112 No. 2, August 2003,
pp. 440-445, Prevention of Drowning in Infants, Children, and Adolescents,
Ruth A. Brenner, MD, MPH and Committee on Injury, Violence, and Poison
1 in 5 parents
mistakenly think air-filled water wings can protect their child from
drowning. (Source: KidsHealth/The Nemours Foundation, June 2004,
Most Kids Who Drowned Were Supervised, Study Finds)
can drown in as little as 1 inch of water. That means drowning can
happen where you'd least expect it - the sink, the toilet bowl, fountains,
buckets, pet bowls, birdbaths, wading pools, or small bodies of standing
water around your home, such as ditches filled with rainwater. (Source:
KidsHealth/The Nemours Foundation, June 2004, Most Kids Who Drowned
Were Supervised, Study Finds)
How are children drowning?
Contrary to popular notion, most drownings do not involve loud thrashing
or verbalization of distress. Prevention is key to decreasing drowning.
buckets. Toddlers naturally like to explore. They are mobile and
get away from the watchful eyes of adults quickly. They are top-heavy.
They tend to fall forward. They don't have enough muscles to pull themselves
out of a five gallon bucket or a toilet.
out of a lifejacket. A U.S. Coast Guard approved personal floatation
device is never a substitute for knowing how to swim. (NSC Family Safety
& Health Pool and Beach Safety)
than 30 feet from help. 90% of drowning deaths occur within 10 yards
Sequence of Events During
Submersion while Swimming
1. Contrary to popular opinion, the victim does not wave or
call for help. Breathing instinctively takes precedence. 2. Sometimes the victim obtains an upright posture, with their
arms extended laterally, thrashing and slapping the water. When this
happens it is often mistaken for playing and splashing in the water. 3. Next the head submerges and surfaces several times during
the victim's struggle for air. In children this can last for up to
10 seconds. An adult may be able to struggle for up to 60 seconds. 4. Inhalation is prevented only by the involuntary closure
of the glottis. Soon after, involuntary gasping occurs for several
minutes. 5. At this point there is swallowing of large amounts of water
into the stomach. 6. Consciousness is lost within 3 minutes. Water is now able
to passively enter the lungs. 7. Finally, cardiac arrythmias, convulsions, spasmodic efforts,
and death occur.
What can we do?
important component of preventing drownings is constant supervision.
offer non-swimming water activities.
pails, and bathtubs completely after each use.
children alone around any water.
lock the hot tub, spa, whirlpool or fence it in like a pool.
children in the water need to be able to scan the supervised area within
10 seconds and reach a person in distress within 20 seconds.
an emergency action plan before it is needed.
children can be enrolled in swim classes, but no amount of instruction
makes a child "drown-proof."
a baby in the tub even for a second. Children drown with the seats and
rings quickly and silently. Most siblings are not old enough to properly
supervise a young child in this situation.
toilet seat cover down. Consider putting a latch on the bathroom door
high enough to be out of reach of an interested infant and toddler.
Do not leave
containers in the yard where they may collect water and attract a child.
Before waterplay, think about what might call you away. The phone, needing
a towel, front door bell, getting a Band-Aid.
Turn on the
answering machine or bring a cordless phone
needed items, sunscreen, towels, first aid kit
Tape a sign
to the front door letting parents know you are out back with the children
planning can't account for every situation. If you need to leave the
water play area, EVEN FOR A FEW SECONDS, take the children with you.
If you choose
to use a pool with children, remind children of the rules each time
you use the area.
"I need you to walk inside the pool area. Running isn't safe in
"Diving needs extra adults. I need you to jump or walk into the
pool unless an adult is ready to watch you dive."
"Even though there is lots of water in the pool, using it like
a toilet can make people very sick. If you need to use the bathroom,
can tell me right away."
diving into shallow water causes spinal injuries. Never allow diving
in above ground pools, shallow water, or unknown areas.
diapers and dirty bottoms, fecal matter may be introduced into pools.
Due to the huge health risks associated with human waste, it is better
to use sprinklers, water tables, or hoses with young children. If you
do allow swimming, toddlers should wear swim diapers that will contain
feces and urine. [In June 1998, it is believed that a sick child with
diarrhea at an Atlanta water park caused an E. coli outbreak. 26 people,
12 of whom were children, were contaminated and one child died.]
What to do when seeing a child in trouble.
1. Get the child out of the water.
If you are unable to safely pull the child from the water, throw a floating
object, life jacket, kick board, even an empty jug. If the child is
unreachable, help use a pole, ring buoy, or even a tree branch.
If you have to enter the water, bring something that floats. Keep it
between you and the child. Many victims have drown their rescuer. 2. Start checking the A,B,C's (airway, breathing, circulation). 3. Have someone call 911.
In addition to swimming
pools and beaches, children drown in,
pails, especially 5-gallon buckets and diaper pails
with melted ice
ditches, post holes, and wells
spas, and whirlpools
landscape ponds, and fountains
pool covers filled with water or preventing a child from surfacing after
"Slip! Slop! Slap!"
Sun damage is permanent and cumulative.
1. First, slip on a shirt, preferably made with
tightly woven material. 2. Next, 20 minutes before going outside, use sun screen with
at least SPF of 15 for children 6 months and older. 3. Finally, slap on a hat. A hat with a broad rim to cover face,
ears, and neck from the sun.
Children in the Water
1. Don't talk to others. It is too easy to be distracted. 2. Constantly scan the water. 3. Check every face every 10 seconds. 4. Be able to reach every child within 20 seconds. 5. Call for backup if you are unable to devote 100% of your attention
on the children. 6. Tell swimmers to let you know immediately if someone might
need help. 7. Have throwing devices, reaching devices, a first aid kit,
and signaling devices close at hand. 8. Think ahead. 9. Be mindful of double drownings.
7 Step - Aquatic
1. You are
easily identifiable to the children in your group and other adults. 2. You are ready to launch a rescue - swimsuit, whistle, reaching/throwing
device in hand, first aid kit & (cell) phone available. 3. You are positioned to see the entire area of responsibility
- including every child in your group & the pool bottom. 4. You are alert, actively scanning every child in your group
every 10 seconds - no conversations or additional activities. 5. You are able to reach any child in your group within 20 seconds. 6. You are exhibiting professional demeanor in posture, behavior,
and attentiveness. 7. The
aquatic environment is well maintained, safety line is in place, safety
equipment is easily available & in good condition, paperwork for
each child is readily obtainable.