LAURINBURG — As temperatures rise many adults and children take a dip in the pool to try and beat the heat, but those crystal clear chlorine waters can be dangerous.
While drownings in Scotland County are rare, with paramedics typically responding to one call each summer, according to EMS Director of Emergency Services Roylin Hammond, an average of 10 people die per day in the United States each year from drowning.
“We’re encouraging people who are around any form of water, even a kiddie pool, to stay with that child at all times,” Hammond said. “All you have to do is walk away for a minute for that child to drown. Young kids don’t have a concept of how dangerous a pool can be.”
Hammond also says drowning isn’t limited to children either, anything can happen to anyone when they get into a pool. Some tips he offers is to always use the buddy system when swimming.
“It doesn’t matter if you’re 18 or 80 always have someone with you when swimming,” Hammond said. “You don’t have to be in water over your head to drown.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that 2,580 people died from unintentional drowning in 2016 and in children ages one to four-years-old it was the leading cause of unintentional-injury death claiming the lives of 425 kids.
Unintentional drowning is in the top 10 for leading cause of unintentional deaths for people less than one year old to age 54. After age 54, unintentional drowning is not listed in the top 10, according to data from the CDC.
Hammond recommends anyone that isn’t an avid swimmer wear a flotation device to ensure their head stays above. He said it’s also important to pay attention, especially in busy pools.
“Just because there’s a lifeguard doesn’t mean anything,” Hammond said. “If there are so many people in the pool they can’t see the bottom they won’t see someone drowning. Anything can happen at a busy pool like someone getting knocked unconscious from playing and drowning.”
Learning to swim properly is also a key factor in being safe in a pool. St. Andrews swim coach Taylor Cooper and his swimmers offer a variety of swim lessons for children, teens and adults. The classes are designed to get people comfortable with the water and learn some of the basic strokes.
Cooper offers mommy and me classes for children ages two and under and their parents, beginner and intermediate classes for children ages three and up, an introduction to swimming for teens ages 12 to 18 years old, and adult lessons for people over 18.
The classes focus on the fundamentals of swimming — breathing, kicking, pulling water, and the timed coordination of these skills. Once these are taught swimmers can support their body in the water especially in emergency situations.
Learning how to properly swim and move in the water can make a significant difference in an emergency situation in a pool or other body of water.