OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Drowning is the leading cause of death for children ages one to four years old.
Local EMSA professionals say there were 29 drowning incidents between May and September of last year alone.
As we head into the holiday weekend – EMSA and a local swim school are giving important reminders to parents to keep their children safe.
Swimming is huge this time of year and of course, so is swim safety. It’s something every parent should be thinking about – especially when their kids become mobile.
“When they’re crawling, that’s when we say let’s get them in the water,” said Megan Bachman, founder of Oklahoma Swim Academy. “We teach kids to save themselves. “
At Oklahoma Swim Academy, lessons start early.
In fact, they start teaching babies, as young as 4 months old.
“Drowning is the leading reason that a child may not make it to kindergarten,” Bachman said.
EMSA paramedics say it’s imperative to always have an eye on your young children – especially if there’s water around.
If you find them drowning or possibly drowning – get them out of the water – dial 911 then look, listen and feel.
“Look to see if they’re breathing,” said Andrew Watson a paramedic with EMSA. “Feel for a pulse. Listen. Feel that sometimes you can’t see breathing, but you can hear it if you get down up close to the child.”
But with kids, you have to be more gentle.
“It’s very different but a general rule for most people, is you’re taking two fingers and you’re pushing down,” Watson said. “Real small children like infants and babies – there’s a technique where we use two fingers and you compress.”
The hope – of course is to prevent children from ever being in that position – but swimming lessons can prepare them just in case – with skills like the rollback.
“Which is if a child were to fall in, they roll to their back and float,” Bachman said.
It’s important for kids to have the foundational kids they need to survive.
“Let’s help them learn how to hold their breath, how to float, so that when they’re walking or close to walking, they know how to save themselves,” said Bachman.
Oklahoma Swim Academy experts say it’s important for families to have layers of protection – including survival swimming skills, knowing CPR, having barriers around backyard pools, parent education – and of course making sure someone is always watching.