It's pool season, and you know what that means: every kid within a ten-mile radius will be jumping, screaming and splashing their way into the abyss that is now summer break.
Guess whose job it is to make sure they don't get hurt or end up on the wrong side of the fence?
The C.S. Mott Children's Hospital in Ann Arbor, Mich., recently shared findings from a National Poll on Children's Health that was taken earlier this year. What they found was that more than a third of parents would allow their child to be in residential or hotel pool—WAIT FOR IT—unsupervised!
Hey, 1974 just called. They want their kids back.
While only a small number of parents would let their child swim in a murky lake (16 percent) or shark-infested waters (13 percent) without an adult present,37 percent permitted their child to stay in a home, hotel or neighborhood pool without adult supervision.
The report, based on responses from 1,543 parents of children ages 6 to 18, also claimed that a child's likelihood of taking swimming lessons differed based on race and ethnicity. This was blamed on the expense and time needed, often due to location.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, drowning is the second leading cause of injury-related death in kids ages 1 to 15. Nearly 1,000 American children die every year from unintentional drowning and five times that number receive care in an emergency department for non-fatal water-related injuries.
That means (if you can't afford lessons), you should at least stick around.
"Familiar places such as a backyard pool may provide a false sense of security," says poll co-director and Mott pediatrician Dr. Gary L. Freed. "We strongly advise parents to closely supervise kids at all times, even if they think their child is a good swimmer."
And it's not just doctors being alarmist. These deaths are real.
"Drownings can, and do, happen in private and hotel pools as well as in lakes and the ocean—even at shallow depths," Freed said. "Swimming lessons and proper supervision are critical to making sure kids are safe around the water."
So, sure, we're all at risk for being called "helicopter moms" but there are times where the hovering is warranted, even crucial: around water. What's important to remember is that anyone can drown—even a seasoned swimmer. No child should be near water alone, even if you're just running up to the room for more sunscreen.