Madera Family & Pediatrics Medical Group
A Team of Board-Certified Physicians Committed to Making a Healthier Madera
© 2012  Michael Scott Bohlman MD., Inc
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Healthy Living: Pediatrics

Helping to keep our younger population healthy, safe and happy. If you have any suggestions for topics you'd like to know about, please let us know!
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Water Safety

Summer is here, but you’ve probably noticed that rising mercury level and the sweltering temperatures. These signs usually mean school is out, family barbecues & vacations, and unfortunately as a pediatrician at Children’s Hospital Central California, more admissions for near-drownings, which can lead to organ damage (such as brain or lung) and/or death. Per the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (USCPSC), drowning is the #1 cause of death in children less than 5 in CA, AZ and FL (and #2 in the rest of the nation) with an average yearly death toll of 279. Thousands more “close-call” near-drownings require hospitalization. All of these are preventable, so let’s talk about water safety this week.

The absolute #1 rule is: Never leave a child unattended near water, whether a pool, spa or anything with only 2 inches of water in it. A few seconds is all a child needs to drown and most always without a splash. However, the USCPSC studied that 70% of drowned children were being supervised by parents and about half of these children were last seen in the house sleeping. Thus, it is necessary to have other “layers” of protection against drowning, such as:

  • Set rules. Sit down as a family and lay down firm rules for conduct at all times around water. In this case, you must be the dictator and your children understand there are no exceptions to your rules; your strictness can save their lives.
  • Play lifeguard. A designated & undistracted adult should be seated near the water’s edge to watch all swimmers.
  • Install a fence. If you own a swimming pool/spa, be sure a fence at least 3 ½ - 5 feet tall with self-closing gates completely surrounds the pool. Keep chairs and other platforms away from the fence line. You can also consider an alarm for your fence.
  • Lock your doors. Locks should be high on all doors that lead out to the pool. Be aware that toddlers can escape through “doggy doors.”
  • Learn to swim. Enroll children in swim lessons once they are mobile. Though some correctly argue that there is not enough muscle strength in infants under 3 to support swimming and only causes them to lose their healthy fear of the water, you can never predict an accidental fall in the absence of an adult. Infant classes should focus on the baby staying calm when submerged and the ability to roll themselves over on their backs to float and breathe until rescued and not on actual swimming movements. Because 75% of the abovementioned drownings occur between 12 -35 mos, waiting until age 3 to start swimming lessons may be too late for your child. But of course, it is never too late for anyone (even adults) to learn to swim.
  • Last, but not least, learning CPR can help save a life after an accident has occurred. Check with your local hospital, ambulance company or the web for a class. If possible, a live course with opportunities for real-life practice is ideal.
With all this in mind, our wish for you from Madera Family & Pediatrics Medical Group is to have a happy, fun and SAFE summer!