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The Hood Magazine

Water Safety This Summer

May 28, 2020 08:24AM ● By Dan Sobocinski with SafeSplash Swim School in Sioux Falls
By: Dan Sobocinski with SafeSplash Swim School in Sioux Falls

This is
 an urgent safety topic – and it’s not about Covid-19. It’s about a different sort of tragedy that happens each summer – death by drowning – and why we think that, this year in particular, the risk may be a much greater. 

Here’s what we know:
  • Warm weather, growing boredom and pent up energy means young people will be on the hunt for fun, summer activities. One need only observe Sioux Fall's previously closed and vacant outdoor basketball courts and playgrounds to see this happening already. 
  • With the closure of public pools and beaches occurring in Sioux Falls, and across the nation, backyard pools and unsupervised rivers, ponds, and lakes will likely see much more activity than ever.  
  • Death by drowning is already the leading cause of death in children.
    • According to the latest CDC statistics, 659​ children, ages 1-14, died by drowning in the USA in 20181. This number will almost surely rise with greater risk exposure in less supervised settings. 
  • By contrast, through May 13, 2020, the CDC says that Covid-19 has caused the death of 8 ​children in the 1-14 age group2
  • In simple terms, a child in the 1- 14 age group is many, many times more likely to die by drowning than as a result of Covid-19.
  • During these times of unprecedented loss and tragedies, many things have been outside of our own control. The tragic loss caused by a child drowning need not be be one of them. This is something that we can impact. It is preventable!
So what can one do?
  • With May being National Water Safety month, effective swimming lessons remain the safest way to deal with each summer's inevitable exposure to water. 
  • The big question for parents today is can they obtain effective swim lessons and reduce water safety risk while minimizing family and community Covid-19 health risk.  
  • At SafeSplash, we think that the answer is yes.  With a focus on safe, fun, and effective swim lessons, we operate differently than most. As a result, we are uniquely prepared to deliver swim lessons that address both family water safety needs and COVID-19 health safety concerns.  This includes:
    • A warm water pool with dual water treatment systems aimed at killing pathogens on contact.  According to the CDC website, "proper operation and disinfection of pools ... should kill the virus that causes Covid-19". 
    • Very small class sizes for individualized student attention and effective learning in a highly controlled environment has always been our norm.  Small class sizes have helped  make SafeSplash the number one swim lesson provider in the country.
    • Because we operate in a highly controlled environment with small numbers, not large groups, it’s much more practical to successfully implement health safety guidelines like social distancing, wellness checks, use of protective gear, and enhanced cleaning efforts.
While the return to normalcy will take time, at SafeSplash it is possible today for swim lessons to be a lifetime water safety skill-builder, and source of family fun, as well as a sign of hope that a new normal will arrive with opportunities for adventure and joy in and around water.