As families look for ways to beat the heat and begin to dip their toes back into daily life, there’s another public health issue impacting communities across the country: drowning. While many splash pads, water parks, and community pools across the country remain closed out of precaution to prevent further spread of the coronavirus, families are turning to lakes, beaches, and backyard pools as a way to get outdoors and enjoy the nice weather while adhering to social distancing recommendations.
While seasonal factors lead to an increase in drowning-related incidents during the summer, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) is concerned children may be at a higher risk of drowning this year. Many parents are continuing to juggle the demands of working from home while caring for their children. Between conference calls and cooking meals, children can easily slip out of sight for a matter of mere moments, which unfortunately is all the time it takes for a tragedy to strike.
The unfortunate reality is that drowning can happen to anyone, with the majority of accidents happening at home when parents don’t expect their child to be near water. Even before the pandemic, 90% of child drowning deaths occurred when a caregiver was supervising, and 77% of drowning victims had only been out of sight for less than five minutes. It's not just deepwater parents need to be concerned about either. All it takes is two inches of water for someone to drown, turning common household objects like bathtubs, toilets, or even buckets of water and kiddie pools into potential drowning hazards for young children.
This year has been incredibly challenging for families, businesses, and communities alike. And for a while, it seemed as though many aspects of life were on pause, but water safety is one thing that cannot wait – which is why we are grateful to have the opportunity to start safely reopening some of our schools. Given how quickly COVID-19 continues to evolve, we’re constantly monitoring for new developments and will continue to reevaluate steps and actions to ensure we continue to do the right things, as well as follow the guidelines outlined by the CDC and local public health officials.