It was found out in a recent study that ‘Drowning’ is the leading cause of death among young children of age groups 1 to 4. The study also revealed that such incidents most frequently occurred in places like bath tubs, hot tubs, swimming pools, spas, and open water bodies. Although these figures are what statistics show, it is also essential to state that teens and young adults aren’t very far behind. For people between the ages of 15 and 24, deaths due to drowning are found out to be the highest across the United States.
What's more surprising is that these incidents characteristically befall near natural water settings like lakes, oceans, and rivers, and almost 80 percent of those who suffer are male. While these statistics are baffling and leave us with a few categorical questions, we need to conduct an in-depth analysis of the prevailing reasons and what we can do to overcome them!
Recklessness or Susceptible to Peer Pressure – What Are The Odds?
Matters not if your child has completed their swimming classes and is confident being in the water; it turns out to be a menace when they’re out with their friends, chilling on the beach or at the pool – far away from your supervision. This is where your constant nourishing and schooling about water safety comes into play. The moment your child steps into their adolescence, it is your responsibility to reinforce the water safety knowledge you have embedded in them over the years, and how it is essential to their wellbeing.
While that is considered, it is inevitable to mention that teens and young adults, mostly male, are more reckless and are equally susceptible to peer pressure. They are more likely to take on the ‘challenges’ and ‘adventures’ that are seemingly adrenaline-filled. However, what they fail to realize is the impending risk that such adventures and challenges accompany. While the reasons presented above are taken duly into consideration, below are 2 of the essential factors why teenagers are more at risk of drowning:
1. They Overestimate Their Abilities:
Teens and young adults can be adrenaline junkies and are constantly on the hunt for adventures. Whether it is because of their friends or the fact that they overestimate their capabilities, they are more likely to underestimate dangerous situations. While they often lack the required experience, the fact that they feel “invincible” is what makes them susceptible to accidents. Not only are they inexperienced at making complex decisions, but they are also unable to control their brains' impulsive abilities. Moreover, teens are also extremely susceptible to peer pressure and feel as if they are constantly being judged. This, topped with their 'ability' to overestimate themselves, is what keeps them vulnerable to danger.
2. Drinking & Drowning Dangers:
While it is extremely important to educate your child about water safety and the risks associated with them, it is also your responsibility to educate them about 'Safe Drinking.' A recent survey revealed that the risks of substance abuse in young adolescence had increased exponentially over the past few decades. About 2/3 of students across the United States have tried alcohol by the time they reach 12th grade. Moreover, it also revealed that consuming alcohol during swimming results in 30-70% of recreational water deaths. Another research conducted by World Health Organization (WHO) states that “higher drowning rates among males are due to increased exposure to water and riskier behavior such as swimming alone, drinking alcohol before swimming alone and boating."
Playing Your Cards Right – What You, As A Parent, Must Do?
Having shed light on 2 of the most persistent reasons why teens and young adults are at a higher risk of drowning, it is crucial to note down the factors that must be rectified. These are as follows:
It is important to understand that knowing how to swim will not guarantee your child to be drown-proof, let alone adults. The majority of drowning incidents occur when there is no adult supervision.
Choosing Natural Water Spots Prudently:
Teens and young adults must understand that swimming in a lake or river is different from swimming in a pool. This is why you must educate your child to:
Choose swimming spots with lifeguards.
Avoid swimming near water spots where people usually go boating and fishing.
Teaching The Importance of Personal Floatation Device (PFD):
It is crucial for you, as a parent, to teach your child how important is it for them to use personal floatation devices. Even if they are good at swimming, they should always have a water safety gear at their disposal.
Avoiding Reckless Behavior:
Being a parent, it is your responsibility to demonstrate safe drinking in front of your kids. Teenagers and young adults adapt from what their parents practice; make sure you’re setting a good example!