I’ve heard some interesting theories on how to end child drowning in the last four years. A couple of my favorites – eliminate swimming pools and keep children away from all water. Aside from being totally unrealistic, not to mention depressing, we in the contiguous 48 States got a taste of unrelenting hot and dry weather this summer with a July that broke all records ever recorded. So how did everyone cope? Water. Water in sprinklers, pools, endless glasses of cool water, ice, fountains, mist machines, lakes, rivers, oceans, and fire hydrants.
Aside from the corresponding increase in water bills that everyone will be seeing, will there also be a spike in drowning deaths? I’m guessing yes. The primal draw to water can not be curbed – the comfort, the fascination, and the basic fact that we can not live without water – and yet most people don’t understand how to act around water safely.
How to balance the danger and the need? I hope that the searing temperatures and drought of this summer will convince all of us that we need to have a better understanding of how to act around water. I hope that the result is a spike in enrollment in swimming lessons for children. I hope that we learn to conserve water and keep our water sources safe and clean. I hope that the mindset starts to shift from viewing water as a ‘natural resource’ or the enemy to a relationship that encompasses respect, appropriate caution, and joy.