Accident (noun) – 1. an undesirable or unfortunate happening that occurs unintentionally and usually results in harm, injury, damage, or loss; casualty; mishap. 2. an event that happens unexpectedly, without deliberate plan or cause.
Accidents happen every day. 1065 children accidentally drown every day. This means that roughly, 10,650 children ‘almost’ drown every day and many are permanently damaged and require lifetime care. Let’s put it into perspective. Last year 136 people (not just children) died from H1N1 every day and it was declared a pandemic – parents pulled their children from school, millions of doses of vaccine were produced and shortages caused panic.
The International Life Saving Federation (www.ilsf.org) is working to have childhood drowning put in the UN Millennium Goals. Of the 8 goals, #4 is ‘Reduce Childhood Mortality”. Drowning is the second leading cause of death in every developed country and an even bigger problem in many developing countries. It needs to be on that list. It needs to be on every media channel. It needs to be part of local, state, national, and international agendas. It needs to be in every parent’s mind. It needs to be on children’s television teaching them to be safe. It needs to be in books. It needs to be positively modeled in movies and videos. It needs to be in preschools and schools.
Childhood drowning has been a silent epidemic for too long. It needs to be a loud, annoying and and insistent epidemic until we are all forced to look at why it is such a problem and come up with creative solutions to keep our children safe. I’m more than willing to be loud, annoying and insistent – anyone want to join me?