The best thing any parent can do about drowning tragedies in New Mexico is to prevent them altogether. Unfortunately, this is often easier said than done. These are, after all, accidents. While many accidents are preventable, there are some that fall outside of another person’s control.
According to USA Today, drowning kills almost 1,000 children in America every year. What is worse is that these deaths often catch parents completely off guard because the children were not supposed to be swimming or anywhere near water at the time. Children are curious though, and so, many may wander into areas that they should not have had access to on their own.
Parents should keep an extra eye on children under the age of four. This is the age group most at risk. Ironically, many parents loosen the restrictions for older children in their mid to late teens, but this is the group with the second-highest risk of drowning. African American children are also disproportionately represented in those who drown.
To reduce the likelihood of drowning, consider the following:
- When supervising young children around bodies of water, ensure they are within arm’s reach
- Secure any pools or other bodies of water, such as fountains.
- Learn skills that can save a child’s life if the water overwhelms them.
- Sign kids up for swimming lessons.
The CDC wants to take some of the pressure off parents by making drowning prevention a national effort. It reports that drowning comes second only to birth defects in the claiming of children’s lives who are under the age of four. It also estimates the racial difference for the drowning of Black children at five times that of White children.
The National Action Plan for Child Injury Prevention created by the CDC focuses on research, communication, policies and awareness. When these and other aspects come together, keeping children safe becomes a community effort in which governments, businesses, parents and children participate.