Dr. Joel SteelmanThe closing of outdoor public pools is one of the bittersweet signs that the summer season is nearing its end.  I’ve enjoyed swimming since I was young child, and I’ve shared this love with my daughter. Our trips to the community pool began before she turned one year old.

Though water safety is not a primary focus in my life as a pediatric endocrinologist:  as the father of a young child, a pediatrician, and advocate for all children; I feel a responsibility to emphasize safety and accident prevention. The pediatric community, as well as most of the public at large, is aware that the incidence of childhood drowning spikes during summer months. Drowning is the second most common cause of death or injury in the pediatric group of 12-17 years of age.

As of this posting, forty children have died from accidental drowning in the Dallas/Fort Worth metro area– this summer alone!  The story of four year old Evan Martin, from Arlington, Texas, highlights how a tragedy can occur when a child has been left unsupervised by water, for even a few brief moments .   Cardio Pulmonary Resucitation (CPR), performed by Evan’s father, and then the emergency medical team, while he was in transport to Cook Children’s Hospital, prevented  the injury from advancing. After arriving at Cook Children’s, Evan received therapeutic hypothermia in the hospital’s Intensive Care Unit, which stabilized him and prevented further damage. Thankfully, this frightening story ended happily with Evan, and his family, leaving the hospital five days after his arrival.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has had a long-standing stake in the promotion of water safety,  and they recently revised their recommendations on water safety and young children. New thoughts have emerged that by providing children as young as 1 year old, experience with water, may ultimately make them less likely to drown. The idea is that the younger a child starts to acclimate to water, the safer their swimming experience will be in the long run.

Today, I marvel at how my daughter’s ability to stay afloat, and move smoothly through the water has matured. She is still by no means an independent swimmer, so I know that she will need my close supervision for a long time to come–as well as swim lessons!

Swimming can be a fun and healthful activity for families year round.  Indoor pools make swimming, even in the cold winter months, an enjoyable possibility. I encourage parents to take their children regularly to the pool, supervise properly, and enroll them in swim lessons.  Don’t let the start of school, be the end of pool.

The closing of outdoor public pools is one of the bittersweet signs that the summer season is nearing its end.  I’ve enjoyed swimming since I was young child, and I’ve shared this love with my daughter. Our trips to the community pool began before she turned one year old.

Though water safety is not a primary focus in my life as a pediatric endocrinologist:  as the father of a young child, a pediatrician, and advocate for all children; I feel a responsibility to emphasize safety and accident prevention. The pediatric community, as well as most of the public at large, is aware that the incidence of childhood drowning spikes during summer months. Drowning is the second most common cause of death or injury in the pediatric group of 12-17 years of age.

As of this posting, forty children have died from accidental drowning in the Dallas/Fort Worth metro area– this summer alone!  The story of four year old Evan Martin, from Arlington, Texas, highlights how a tragedy can occur when a child has been left unsupervised by water, for even a few brief moments .   Cardio Pulmonary Resucitation (CPR), performed by Evan’s father, and then the emergency medical team, while he was in transport to Cook Children’s Hospital, prevented  the injury from advancing. After arriving at Cook Children’s, Evan received therapeutic hypothermia in the hospital’s Intensive Care Unit, which stabilized him and prevented further damage. Thankfully, this frightening story ended happily with Evan, and his family, leaving the hospital five days after his arrival.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has had a long-standing stake in the promotion of water safety,  and they recently revised their recommendations on water safety and young children. New thoughts have emerged that by providing children as young as 1 year old, experience with water, may ultimately make them less likely to drown. The idea is that the younger a child starts to acclimate to water, the safer their swimming experience will be in the long run.

Today, I marvel at how my daughter’s ability to stay afloat, and move smoothly through the water has matured. She is still by no means an independent swimmer, so I know that she will need my close supervision for a long time to come–as well as swim lessons!

Swimming can be a fun and healthful activity for families year round.  Indoor pools make swimming, even in the cold winter months, an enjoyable possibility. I encourage parents to take their children regularly to the pool, supervise properly, and enroll them in swim lessons.  Don’t let the start of school, be the end of pool.