It is summertime, and the kids are out of school and outdoors playing. These warm months can be full of fun in lakes, pools, rivers, and the ocean, but parents should be aware of the dangers of water play. While many parents are familiar with the risk of drowning accidents, fewer are aware of the high incidence of diving head injuries and neck injuries during the summer months in Washington State.
Here are some child injury statistics: according to a 16-year-study conducted by the Ohio State University Medical School, 6,500 children visit the emergency room annually because of a diving or jumping accident. Seventy percent of these injuries are the result of a diving accident, and 80 percent of injuries occur in water that is four feet deep or less.
What can you do to prevent your child from suffering a serious injury from jumping or diving in water this summer?
• Know the depth of the water. Many diving accidents take place because swimmers weren’t aware of how deep a pool or lake is. Mark your pool clearly with water depth signs and ban diving in shallow sections. • Beware murky water. Opaque water can be extremely dangers, as swimmers will often not be able to accurately guess the depth of the water. • Ban tricks. According to the study mentioned above, many jumping accidents occur at pool parties, when kids might be trying to impress each other with tricks. This can lead to a variety of injuries if a dive, cannon ball, or flip goes wrong. • Look for lifeguards. The study found that a shocking 90 percent of pool jumping injuries took place when there was not a lifeguard on duty to keep swimmers safe. • Educate your children. Make sure that you kids know how to dive properly and that they know that striking the bottom of a pool or pond is extremely dangerous. Work on their technique and make sure they know how to make responsible decisions regarding water play.