Summer is upon us and unfortunately, that means that there will be at least one local news story about a child drowning.  It happens every year (too many times).

Typically, these are ruled as accidental deaths but occasionally there is a person held responsible for failing to provide appropriate supervision.

Swimming in fun.  Drowning, even just talking about it as a means of prevention is not fun.  Many of you won’t even want to read this week’s article because you don’t want to be lectured about drowning.

You might be thinking

My child knows how to swim.

My child knows better than to go in the water without me.

My child doesn’t go anywhere where there is water.

This will never happen to me.”


Obligatory Statistics About Child Drowning:

The CDC reports that:

  • There are about 10 deaths per day from drowning annually in the United States.
  • About one in five people who die from drowning are children 14 and younger.
  • Most drownings occur in June, July, and August.
  • 1/3 of all child deaths occur from drowning and kids ages 1-4 are at highest risk
  • Most child drownings occur in a backyard swimming pool
  • Boys are more likely to drown than girls and
  • African American children 5-19 drown in swimming pools at rates 5.5 times higher than those of whites.

Teach Your Child To Swim!

One way that you can reduce your child’s risk of drowning is to teach them to swim! Notice, I said “reduce” because a child that is known as a “good swimmer” is still a child and is still at risk for drowning.

Around this time of year, the video of Infant Rescue Swimming classes start popping up.  I am always amazed to watch these videos of teeny, tiny babies swimming the length of the pool.   You can watch an example of Baby Elizabeth swimming the length of pool here.   Last summer, this video sparked a huge debate in a play therapy group about whether this child was “in distress” or “being traumatized.”

I personally think it is pretty cool.  I also think that it requires very specific training and should not be attempted on your own.  For more information about Infant Rescue Swimming go here.  You can find traditional swimming lessons for your older children (usually 3 and up) if you just do a quick Google search.

Supervision Is Key In Drowning Prevention

Regardless of what age your child learned to swim, how often they are in the water, or your confidence in their ability…

The only way to prevent drownings is to SUPERVISE, SUPERVISE, SUPERVISE.

Warning:  Soapbox Alert

I am not a panicky type Mom.  I fully believe that you can show confidence in your child’s ability in a pool without hovering every second and freaking out if they go under water.  But, I get extremely annoyed when I see kids swimming unsupervised!

Supervision for drowning means


Supervision does not include

  • Watching kids swim through the window of your home
  • Tanning on a chair close by with your eyes closed
  • Playing on your phone or reading a book while your kids are swimming
  • Assuming that just because your child has on floaties or some other life jacket that they will be fine
  • Expecting the lifeguards to do all of the supervision.

Remember, that statistic about OLDER children.  They drown too!  It is super easy for a child to get overexerted, dehydrated, swallow water and panic or have some other medical emergency while they are swimming.


My recommendation is to have an adult in the pool if there are children in the pool.

 At the very least, an adult that is PREPARED TO GET WET at the edge of the pool at all times.

I can hear people who have pools at their house telling me that this is ridiculous.  That they let their teens swim all the time and they are fine.

In fact, I did it.  I was raised in Florida. I swam in our backyard pool unsupervised all.the.time.

And, some kids might really be safe in the pool unsupervised.  Those kids are NEVER under the age of 5.  NEVER.   Just saying.

Other Drowning Prevention Tips From the CDC:

  • Learn basic swimming skills
  • Life jackets can be helpful
  • Install a pool fence and have alarms on your doors/windows
  • Supervise
  • Use a buddy system

Final Thoughts:

If you have lost a child due to drowning, my heart literally breaks for you.  This post is not meant to be blaming or judgmental in anyway.

Like I said, a lot of really fantastic parents have dealt with this issue because young children are curious, they are fast, and they are stubborn.

I have three children three and under-they love the water! They can not swim.  They are at high risk!

Please, swim! Enjoy your summer and get outside.  Swimming is good exercise and being outside is hundred times better than staying inside and playing video games all summer.

Just be mindful of the risks and when people tell you that you are being paranoid, tell them that Jennifer Taylor said that they are not allowed to supervise your little swimmers.

Please share with someone that has a pool, a child, a grandchild, a friend with a child, a neighbor with a child…just share it!

And if you’re not already subscribed, do so here.


Why a white daisy?

Apparently, when people  are asked to draw a flower, the first one that comes to mind for a majority of people is the daisy shape.   This single flower (just the flower part without the stem or any leaves and on a solid black background) was show to study participants after being shown a high-arousal negative image. Examples of high-arousal negative images include awful things like violence, injuries and car crashes.  Two trials were conducted:  in the first subjects were shown a high arousal image and then either a) the flower image b) a mosaic of fragments of the flower image or c) a visual fixation point.  In the second trial, the high arousal image was followed by either a) the flower image, b) a chair (deemed a neutral image) or c) a blue sky with clouds (deemed a positive non-floral image).   Systolic and diastolic blood pressure readings were taken throughout the experiments.  

As expected, mean blood pressure was lower when participants viewed the flower versus the fixation point or the mosaic flower,  but what was unexpected is that the flower image actually reduced mean blood pressure to a level lower than the baseline.  Both the flower image and the blue sky had a similar positive impact in changing mood from negative to positive (with the blue sky having the most overall impact).  However, only the flower (not the sky) caused a reduction in mean blood pressure.  It was determined that viewing a simple flower image could in fact change a negative mood into a more positive one and also decrease blood pressure. 

The power of the single flower image was then studied in regards to salivary cortisol levels.  During this study, the high-arousal images were once again paired with the flower image, the flower fragment mosaic or the fixation point.  Once again, only the flower image was shown to significantly decrease stress during the recovery phase. One final examination looked at fMRI images of the brain during these conditions.  Through this imagery it was discovered that the flower image was effective in decreasing the amygdala-hippocampus activation that occurred after viewing the high arousal images. Researchers speculated that the flower image was a distraction tool that was helped prevent the recall of the stressful images.  

The brief viewing of this single flower image was shown to be effective at reducing negative emotions and created better functioning of both the cardiovascular and endocrine systems! Having such a simple tool available to help reduce stress and regulate unpleasant emotions and is one possible tool for interrupting ruminating thoughts or unpleasant flashbacks.  

About the Author Jen Taylor

Jennifer Taylor, LCSW, RPT is an experienced child and family therapist and public speaker who specializes in trauma, ADHD, and conduct problems. Discover more about her diverse clinical background and family. Reach out to Jennifer with questions or comments by emailing at

Jennifer Taylor, LCSW, RPT is an experienced child and family therapist and public speaker who specializes in trauma, ADHD, and conduct problems. Discover more about her diverse clinical background and family. Reach out to Jennifer with questions or comments by emailing at

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