How to prevent drownings after three unfortunate events involving toddlers | How Artificial Intelligence is playing a role

Forty-two people drown every hour, every day. That number is even more alarming when you consider most of those are children under the age of four. Last week, our community experienced two drownings with a third recovering from a near drowning incident. All were under the age of four

Taylor Alexander, owner of Tadpole Academy, says most drownings happen where one or more adults are in the vicinity of a home. She says most drownings happen with family who just get too relaxed. 

“We’re always gathering around lakes and rivers and ponds but especially our backyard pools. Whoever has a pool, we’re gonna go to their house and have lots of adults standing around the water. You just get this false sense of security like, man, there’s so many people out there, somebody will watch, but that’s not the case.” Alexander says.

Alexander began her swim academy after her own personal experience with her child that opened her eyes to the importance of teaching kids to swim at a young age. She focuses on teaching survival swim to young kids. She says the most important thing for everyone, adults included, is knowing how to swim enough to get out of the water.

If you have a pool, Alexander recommends getting a pool cover or a locked fence around the pool immediately. Of course, swimming lessons are also a must for all ages. There’s another thing that she says is a non-negotiable to every experience around water.

“Always appoint a Water Watcher every time you’re around water with your kids. That’s the neighborhood pond, anytime you’re on the river, but especially at a pool party, where you feel like your kid is safe. That’s probably where they’re least safe.” she said.

A Water Watcher is a designated person whose sole job is watching the water. You can download Water Watcher cards to place on a landyard. Strong swimmers present can rotate every 20-30 minutes.

AI MAKES A SPLASH IN DROWNING PREVENTION

Even with your eyes on the water, accidents can still happen. In fact, 88% of child drownings occur with at least 1 adult present (NDPA.ORG) That’s where AI comes in. Companies like Angel Eyes have created AI-powered drowning detection systems

Cameras are placed in the water to detect the lack of motion and even temperature changes. 

“The artificial intelligence of the AngelEye software analyzes the images acquired by the cameras in real time and identifies situations of danger or drowning.” the company states on their website. 

The image and exact position of the swimmer in distress is reported to lifeguards allowing them to intervene immediately. These AI cameras can be found from multiple companies. They can be used in public and private pools. 

LEARNING TO SWIM IS PARAMOUNT IN PREVENTION

Preventing drownings isn’t a ‘one-size fits all’ solution. All of these methods should be considered and put in place. Louisiana has more than 40,000 linear miles of rivers, streams and bayous. Our state’s coastline covers over 400 miles. Drownings can happen anywhere at any time. For this reason, Alexander says they have dedicated days in class where the students come fully dressed from head to toe.

“80% of kids that fall into bodies of water are wearing all their clothes, including their shoes. And what we’ve heard is that even kids that know how to swim, panic, because they’ve never swam in their clothes.” she said.

Alexander recommends adults at all ages learn how to swim. She says, if a parent can’t swim, a child only has about a 13% chance of learning to swim.

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