[Ed: DRGO’s ‘Dr. Latebloomer’ originally published this June 25 at GATdaily.com.]
In the news recently, was another celebrity toddler drowning. As horrible as that is, this tragedy was one of over 3500 unintentional drownings that occur yearly in the U.S. , not counting boating accidents. Skier Bode Miller‘s family experienced a similar heartache just last year.
Why am I bringing up these horrible toddler deaths on a gun page? Because child death by drowning is far bigger problem than child death by firearms. In fact as the CDC itself states: “Drowning is responsible for more deaths among children 1-4 than any other cause except congenital anomalies (birth defects). Among those 1-14, fatal drowning remains the second-leading cause of unintentional injury-related death behind motor vehicle crashes.”
Yet you wouldn’t know that by the amount of noise we hear from the American Academy of Pediatrics and other medical societies about firearms versus what we hear about water safety.
The American Academy of Pediatrics has recently updated their policy statement regarding drowning and has a web page which includes a list of Swim Safety Tips. The tips run the gamut from ways to secure your pool, to CPR training for adults, to safety equipment that should be available near a pool.
You know what is conspicuously absent from all of this advice? Telling parents to NOT have a pool, to NOT buy a boat, and to NEVER EVER go to the beach or lake. Another conspicuous absence is the lobbying of government officials to place ever greater restrictions on swimming pools, boats, and bodies of natural water large and small, and even to ban some pools and boats completely.
Also absent is the demonization of the bathtub industry and the pool lobby, bills to sue pool manufacturers for deaths that they callously enable, and the advice to grill other parents about their pool habits and if there is any standing water or toilets where children play.
Absent are the histrionics asking WHY these people they think they need a death lagoon in their own backyard. Absent is the lobbying to ban killer assault wave parks. Haven’t they heard of air conditioning? Don’t they have a sprinkler? Haven’t they paid city taxes to have a public pool with lifeguards? Only the government should have control of such dangerous bodies of water!
Yet Organized Medicine in general, and the AAP in particular do all of the above and worse when it comes to firearms–despite the fact that vastly more children die every year in accidental drownings than die in accidental shootings.
It is a summer ritual for many children to participate in swimming lessons as soon as school gets out for the summer. Parents want their kids to be safer around the water, and to learn to enjoy it rather than be afraid of it. So why isn’t there a similar push to get children into summer gun safety classes? Shouldn’t we be as diligent about teaching children firearm use and safety as we are about teaching them to swim?
In truth, accidental firearms injuries have been dropping for decades–due largely to the efforts of the firearms community–NOT Organized Medicine. In contrast, child drowning rates have apparently not budged in recent years.
Here’s an idea–perhaps the medical community needs to focus more on where the ACTUAL dangers to children lie and stop trying to undermine the Constitutional rights of lawful citizens. Maybe then we’d ALL be safer.
—’Dr. LateBloomer’ is the pen name of a female general pediatrician (MD, MPH, FAAP) who enjoys competitive shooting sports, including IDPA, USPSA and 3-Gun. Evil semi-automatic firearms are her favorites.