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Safety tips: Children must not be left out of sight on and in the water
For many people, in summer temperatures there is nothing better than spending your free time in the outdoor pool or at the lake. Children especially love cooling off in cold water. Parents and caregivers should never lose sight of the little ones near and in the water. Drowning is one of the leading causes of death in young children.
It's not just seniors who are at risk
Almost every year in the summer months fatal bathing accidents are reported, which often affect seniors, whose weakened cardiovascular system cannot cope with the lower water temperatures in the heat. The consequences include heart failure, cramps and rapid exhaustion. But children are also at risk when bathing.
Even a flat garden pond can be dangerous
As the professional association of pediatricians (BVKJ) writes on its website "kinderaerzte-im-netz.de", drowning is one of the leading causes of death in children between one and four years. Parents and caregivers must therefore be particularly vigilant on beaches, lakes and ponds. Even a shallow garden pond could be a lethal danger for the little ones. The President of the DLRG, Hans-Hubert Hatje, appeals to the parents not to lose sight of the youngsters.
Fatal accidents in unguarded waters
Even as the children get older, they are still at risk. In 2015, a total of 25 children and adolescents up to 15 years drowned in Germany. According to the German Life Saving Association (DLRG), a large proportion of fatal accidents occurred in unguarded lakes and rivers. As a recent study shows, a bathtub or a bucket of water is enough to drown for babies under the age of one.
Children between one and four years are more likely to have an accident in the pool. And children who are five or older often drown in natural waters, such as in a pond, in a lake or a river. According to experts, parents often have wrong ideas about drowning. Therefore, some myths should be cleared up here:
Do drowning children always beat and scream?
According to experts, drowning is silent. There are usually few signs of this. Neither splashing water, nor waves and also no screaming child. Parents and caregivers should therefore not believe that they will hear or see the little ones fighting for their lives. Guardians should also say goodbye to the fact that a few minutes of inattentiveness are safe. According to experts, potential helpers have less than 60 seconds to respond.
Lifeguards do not release parents from their responsibility
Parents are also not allowed to weigh themselves safely and leave their children unsupervised just because a lifeguard is on duty. Lifeguards, lifeguards, water rescue services and other staff make sure that the pool / bathing rules are observed and let their eyes roam the water surface regularly and intervene when someone is to be rescued and resuscitated. But they cannot always keep an eye on a particular child.
Half of the drowned children could swim
Unfortunately, the myth that children who have had swimming lessons can no longer drown is still widespread. But they are also not immune to this danger. A study of the children who had drowned in a pool showed that almost half of those affected between the ages of ten and 17 knew how to swim.
Many elementary school students are not swimmers
In addition, data from the nationwide study on child health (KiGGS) showed that many primary school children cannot swim. According to the DLRG, the causes are diverse. For example, 25 percent of primary schools in Germany would no longer have access to the swimming pool because the organizational effort was too high.
DLRG boss Hatje said in a message: "We are therefore strongly committed to maintaining the baths and are asking the municipalities to give primary schools access to baths in particular."
Safety tips for parents
Some safety tips for parents are listed in the BVKJ report: Children should always be supervised when they are in the water. Small children should be within reach of an adult at all times. And older children should always swim with a partner. Furthermore, parents who talk to others while children are swimming should alternately delegate responsibility to a person who, as a “water watcher”, observes the children with all their attention.
It should be ensured that the offspring learn to swim. As is reported, the seahorse badge does not yet confirm safe swimming. This is only achieved with the bronze youth swimming badge. To do this, an adolescent must be able to jump off the edge of the pool and cover a distance of 200 meters in the water in a maximum of 15 minutes. (ad)