Dangers of Swimming in Open Waters


posted in on June 26,2018

According to Safe Kids Worldwide, 80% of water-related fatalities are boys.

A study conducted by Safe Kids Worldwide concluded that 43% of drownings happened in open waters, while 38% occur in pools. Drownings in pools have been decreasing over the years, however, drownings in open waters has been increasing. The study also suggests that 80% of children who drowned in open water are boys, with half of the fatalities occurring between the ages of 15-19.

Open water swimming includes swimming in places like the ocean or a lake and poses particular dangers including:

  • Quick changes in water temperatures
  • Drop-offs
  • Trouble estimating distances
  • Curbed visibility
  • Swift currents
  • Surprise increase in rocks and plants

When swimming in open water, keep these tips in mind for a safe experience:

  • Teach children at a young age that swimming in a pool and swimming in open water is completely different.
  • Make sure kids can jump or step into water over their head and return to the surface.
  • Teach children to float and tread water, as well as exit water safely.
  • Wear a life jacket when boating or participating in any other water-related activities.
  • Always keep weak/non-swimmers in personal floatation devices.
  • Learn basic water rescue and CPR skills.

Also, it is important to recognize what the warning signs of drowning are:

Most people think of someone drowning when they are screaming for help and flailing their arms, but this isn’t necessarily the case. Drowning is a quick and quiet occurrence. Older kids often try to push themselves up out of the water, struggling to keep their heads above water. Younger children do not have the strength to do this and will often simply remain with their face in the water with little to no movement in their arms or legs. Because they are trying to get breaths of air between going under the water, there is no time for them to yell. It takes less than 20 seconds for a child to sink below the water’s surface. Brain damage occurs within 5 minutes of being submerged.

When swimming this summer whether in open waters or a pool, be aware of your surroundings and always keep an eye on children, especially if they are weak swimmers.

Kids Swimming


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