I just finished reading a very interesting article from the New York Times: Keeping Kids Safe From the Wrong Dangers. Here's an excerpt that I think summarizes the message nicely:
"[T]he five things most likely to cause injury to children up to age 18, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, are: car accidents, homicide (usually at the hands of someone they know), child abuse, suicide or drowning. And what are the five things that parents are most worried about (according to surveys by the Mayo Clinic)? Kidnapping, school snipers, terrorists, dangerous strangers and drugs." Lisa Belkin - NYTimes.com
It's a natural, human reaction to fear and prepare for the worst possible scenario, often at the expense of failing to prepare for the most likely scenario. As the author explains, parents choose to drive their kids to school in lieu of having them walk alone, because of the fear their child might be abducted; when in fact, a child is far more likely to be injured in the car on the way to school.
Are we doing the same thing at the swim clubs and community organizations?
Are we spending too much time focusing our energy on drowning and abuse prevention? Statistically speaking, a child is far more likely to get injured after falling from the monkey bars or slipping on the pool deck. We often think of these more frequent injuries as being minor, but that isn't always the case. Injuries on playgrounds, for example, can include concussions, paralysis, and even death.
It goes without saying that no one wants to see a swimmer drown. And the thought of a child being abused is almost too much to bear. We are by no means suggesting a cut back on lifeguards or abuse recognition training, but from a purely risk and cost management standpoint, could we being doing more to prevent the more common injuries?
What do you think?
We'd love to hear your thoughts on this topic. Does your organization place the same emphasis on preventing both severe injuries and frequent injuries? Do you think frequent injuries are preventable in the first place?