Tuesday, April 6, 2010
Drowning; leading cause of injury-related death in children with autism
I will never forget the day Nicky was walking back and forth between the pool and the spa and he fell in. He was not quite two and he walked back and forth, back and forth looking at the water, acting like he wanted to touch it, but not getting in. Seated 4 feet from him, I watched him go to the edge of the pool bend over, stare at the water, and then turn around and do the same thing on the edge of the spa. Back and forth he went for nearly an hour. Then on one trip to the edge of the spa he leaned just a little too far over the water and fell head over heals into the jacuzzi. I was right there, I walked right over to him and what I saw shocked me. Nicky, eyes wide open, was just floating to the bottom of a step in the spa. In this case the bottom was only about 1.5 feet but he did nothing he just sank, stared up at the sky through the water and didn't move. I jumped in pulled him out. He coughed and was fine. I was clearly more shaken than he was.
I understood at that moment why people say drowning is silent. There was no flapping of the arms, no struggle to stay above water just a silent trip to the bottom, where he would have quietly drown.
Nicky loves the water, and he thinks he is a better swimmer than he really is. He has no fear of the water and his favorite place to be is always in the deepest water. I am always on high alert and I've always felt our kids were at higher risk. When I saw this article I was blown away to see that drowning was the top accidental cause of death for children with autism, but I was not surprised.
In celebration of Autism Awareness month, please read this, and please pass it along.
The Risk of Drowning in Children with Autism
Too often children with autism who wander are attracted to water. Drowning is the leading cause of injury-related death in children with autism.