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Child drowning statistics: Almost 400 U.S. kids die annually – Tips for parents and guardians



As summer approaches, a new government report serves as a warning for parents about the dangers of drowning in pools and spas. The report reveals that nearly 400 children die each year from drowning incidents.

One mother, Chezik Tsunoda, who tragically lost her 3-year-old son to drowning in 2018, is now advocating for the prevention of child drowning deaths through her non-profit organization, “No More Under.” 

The report from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission highlights racial disparities in drowning deaths, with Black children accounting for 21% of all drowning deaths among victims under the age of 15, despite comprising only 15% of the same-aged population.

White children accounted for 66% of the deaths while making up 71% of the population in the same age group.

Tsunoda firmly believes that all drownings are preventable and provides several tips for keeping children safe. She emphasizes the importance of learning CPR, ensuring that both parents and children know how to swim, and taking necessary precautions before going to the pool, such as checking for lifeguards or having life jackets available.

Alex Hoehn-Saric, chair of the Consumer Product Safety Commission, advises parents to closely supervise their children around water.

It is crucial to designate a water watcher, an adult solely focused on the children’s safety without distractions from activities like reading or using phones.

A related concern highlighted in a previous CBS Evening News report is the lifeguard shortage across the country, which has led to a renewed focus on pool safety. The American Lifeguard Association reported that around half of the nation’s 309,000 public pools may have to reduce hours or close due to the shortage. This situation could potentially result in more drownings as individuals seek alternative water sources without lifeguard supervision.

Drowning remains the leading cause of death for children aged 1 to 4, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Experts emphasize the critical nature of time during a drowning incident, as it takes only seconds for a child to fully submerge and just a minute without oxygen to the brain to have lasting effects.

Video: A father turns his back for a few brief seconds and almost losses his toddler in a near-drowning incident.

Parents and caregivers are urged to be vigilant, keep a watchful eye on children around the water, and take necessary precautions to prevent tragic drowning incidents.

Swimming Pool Tips for Parents with Young Children:

  1. Supervision: Always closely supervise your children when they are near or in the swimming pool. Maintain constant visual contact and avoid distractions like phone use or reading.

  2. Learn CPR: Take a CPR (Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation) course to be prepared for emergencies. CPR can make a significant difference in saving a life during drowning incidents.

  3. Teach Swimming Skills: Enroll your children in swimming lessons at an appropriate age. Teaching them basic swimming skills and water safety can greatly reduce the risk of drowning.

  4. Pool Barriers: Install proper barriers around the pool area to prevent unsupervised access. Use fences, gates, or pool covers to create a physical barrier and ensure that children cannot enter the pool area without adult supervision.

  5. Life Jackets and Floatation Devices: For young children or inexperienced swimmers, provide them with properly fitted life jackets or floatation devices when they are in or around the pool. These devices provide an extra layer of safety and support in the water.

  6. Teach Water Safety Rules: Educate your children about water safety rules. Emphasize the importance of not running near the pool, not diving in shallow water, and not pushing or jumping on others in the pool.

  7. Avoid Drain Entrapments: Ensure that pool drains and suction outlets are compliant with safety standards. Teach children about the potential dangers of pool drains and the importance of staying away from them.

  8. Secure Pool Chemicals: Store pool chemicals in a safe and secure location, out of the reach of children. Follow proper handling and storage guidelines to prevent accidents or injuries.

  9. Be Prepared for Emergencies: Keep a well-stocked first aid kit and rescue equipment near the pool. Know the location of the nearest phone to quickly call for help in case of an emergency.

  10. Be Mindful of Sun Protection: Protect your children from the sun’s harmful rays by applying sunscreen with a high SPF, providing them with hats and sunglasses, and encouraging breaks in the shade to prevent sunburns and overheating.

Remember, these tips are not exhaustive, and it’s essential to follow local regulations and guidelines for pool safety. Prioritize your child’s safety and take proactive measures to ensure a safe and enjoyable swimming experience.

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