Tʉ̀ʉchʉ̠pikivi̠ Sʉ̀ʉmuguavi̠ – “Good Brain, Strong Heart”

Students from the Southern Ute Indian Montessori Academy’s upper elementary program; Grades 4, 5, and 6 spent the spring months working on a moccasin making project in 2017. Under the guidance of Southern Ute elder Willlette Thompson, the students hand stitched the leather shoes and added ornamental beadwork to each set of moccasins. Students finished their crafts project just in time for spring Bear Dance.
Jeremy Wade Shockley | SU Drum archive

Long, hot summer days are just ahead, which hopefully means cooling dips in pools, lakes, and maybe even an ocean.  In order to keep those days full of fun memories, there are some key water-safe practices.  Water safety is so important because fatal drowning is the number one cause of death in kids ages one-four years old in the United States, and most of those drownings occur in pools.  But it is not just younger kids that are at risk: in kids five-14 years old, fatal drownings are the second most common cause of accidental death.   

It’s terrible to think about those statistics, but fortunately, there are proven ways to prevent drownings.  Swim lessons can reduce the risk of drowning for kids.  That doesn’t mean that once they have had lessons, they are ready to be near water alone, but it is a fun way to decrease the risk.  Life jackets can also help, but with the same idea that a child in a life jacket in or near water still needs to be watched.   

Above all, supervision of any child near water is absolutely essential to try to prevent drowning.  Having one sober adult who is not distracted and who is designated to watch the child is the best way to keep them safe.  This is because in contrast to what is sometimes portrayed in media, drowning is often silent, without splashing or yelling.  A child can drown right next to a group of adults in a matter of seconds without them noticing.  This is why it is so important to have one adult identified to closely supervise any child in or near water. 

Drowning in teenagers is usually related to substance use or risk-taking behaviors, such as diving head-first into water of unknown depth.  Swimming sober, checking water depth before ever going in head-first, and swimming with a buddy can reduce the risk of drowning. 

Swimming can be one of the best ways to savor sweltering weather, but water safety is essential to keep kids safe and enjoy those beautiful summer days – this summer and for many summers to come. 

For more information about water safety for kids check out:  

https://www.cdc.gov/drowning/index.html, https://www.watersafetyusa.org/, https://www.healthychildren.org/English/safety-prevention/at-play/Pages/5-Water-Safety-Tips-for-Kids-of-all-Ages.aspx 

You can make an appointment for your child to be seen at the Southern Ute Health Clinic to talk more about water safety or anything else by calling 970-563-4581. 

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