H2O: Danger or Luxury

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Too late. It was too late to save him. The efforts of giving CPR stopped; there was not a fraction of life left to revive. On Tuesday, June 22, in the risky waters of the Clackamas River at High Rocks, a 16-year-old boy drowned. This was the fourth drowning reported in the Clackamas River. The only difference from the others is that this boy drowned in front of three lifeguards. A witness confirmed that all three lifeguards saw the boy struggling. One even blew her whistle from the lifeguard chair, but did not attempt to save the boy.
The previous story illuminates the tragic event of drowning that reoccurs throughout history. 19% of drowning deaths involving children take place in public pools with certified lifeguards present according to Poseidon-Tech.com. Providing a false sense of security, lifeguards help reduce fears but do not always take action. Everybody needs to take individual action to help prevent these tragedies from happening.
The idea of infant and young child education on swimming safety was highly stressed by Dr. Harvey Barnett. He began to develop so much passion about swimming safety that he founded the Infant Swimming Resource to aide children six months to six years of age. Mourning the lives of their son/daughter are the parents who once said that this would never happen to them. Infant Swimming Resource has impacted a large population of children who have survived life and death situation in the water. Terry and her two year old son, Parker, were standing by the pond like they do everyday while she cleaned the fish. Standing only ten feet away from her son, she suddenly heard a splash. Frightened, she looked over and immediately jumped in after her son as a cheetah after his prey. Terry describes the relief as she quickly glanced at her son. “The water was very dark (tanic) and the only thing I could see was his face calmly breathing above water.” Seconds can make the difference between life and death. Luckily in this situation Parker knew what to do and calmly followed the routine he had learned from his instructor during class. Many other children, just like Parker, have been saved and have saved their families from heartbreaking news. Parents need to find reassurance in the thought that their children know how to swim rather than there being lifeguards present.
With drowning being the second leading cause of unintended injury related deaths for children ages 1-14 years many precautions, in addition to enrolling your kids in swim class, need to be taken to help reduce this rate. As parents many precautions can be taken to help reduce the risk within your own home. Any type of pool, whether above or below ground, needs to be fenced in to make sure no child will be able to access it without a parent’s assistance. Kiddy pools, sinks, bathtubs, buckets, etc. should not retain any water unless being used at that moment. Infants can drown in as little as one inch of water, so places such as the ones previously listed prove to be causes of infant drowning. You should feel at peace at your own home and since you have control of what is in it, take all necessary precautions to put your mind at rest.
The Make a Splash Campaign has been helping raise awareness of this rising epidemic in the United States. Not only do they provide education to students about safety in the water, but also offer swimming lessons to potential victims. According to the USA Swimming Foundation, who sponsors the Make a Splash Campaign, an average of 9 people drown everyday in the United States. The recent tragedies have concerned them to take action. They have also noticed the rising rates of child obesity and have taken crucial action regarding this growing issue also. The USA Swimming Foundation has not only stressed swimming as a physical activity but also a fun one.

Many health experts agree that swimming provides a great form of exercise. In addition to strengthening your muscles it also encompasses a cardiovascular work out as well as an endurance booster. Swimming supplies a natural resistance, as much as twelve times the amount air does. The resistance given by swimming does not damage your joints, which can be a complaint of people who run or bike. Swimming contains the unique aspect of working all of your muscles. When performing different strokes all muscles are used and strengthened by the end of your work out. Being a very cardiovascular workout, swimmers have the benefit of increased blood flow in result of swimming regularly. Swimming has risen to become the safest, most enjoyable, and most effective form of physical fitness. Rick Alan, the author of “Take the Plunge”, puts it simply as “swimming results in a better overall workout.”

Water can be both a danger and a luxury. Though it can badly hurt us, if used in the correct way, water can only be used for good. Unfortunately, drowning will occur every so often but who says there has to be 9 a day? The statistics can be changed. There does not have to be 3,300 child deaths due to drowning this year. We can change the numbers by simply educating ourselves and our children. The numbers are not written in permanent marker; they are erasable and can be changed by merely using a pen to sign up our children for water safety classes.





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misssunshine said...
Nov. 21, 2010 at 10:31 pm
I absolutely love this article. It correctly illuminates the importance of swimming...well written. Usually these articles are boring to read but somehow you made it interesting. Love it, its awesome!
 
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