Five Ways to Prevent Children from Drowning

As scorching heat waves grip us this summer, more people are drawn to water to cool down.

Before letting kids loose at pools or beaches, experts stress the importance of refreshing on drowning prevention. A recent federal health report reveals drowning as a leading cause of death in the U.S., especially among 1- to 4-year-olds. These tragedies are preventable.

“It doesn’t have to be this way; it is entirely preventable,” said Adam Katchmarchi, CEO of the National Drowning Prevention Alliance. “Every family can empower themselves with this information to keep their kids safer.”

Swimming deaths have risen above pre-pandemic levels from 2019, with over 4,500 deaths annually from 2020 to 2022, according to the CDC. Deaths are more prevalent among Black and Indigenous communities due to historical barriers to aquatic recreation and limited swim classes.

With supervised swim settings disrupted by the pandemic, caregivers must familiarize themselves with prevention strategies. Here are five crucial steps:

  1. Secure Pools with Barriers and Gates: Install self-closing or self-latching gates or alarms to prevent unsupervised access to pools.
  2. Vigilantly Supervise Children: Designate a focused watcher who is not distracted by phones or other activities when children are in or near water.
  3. Ensure Swimming Skills: Learning to swim is essential. Many adults lack swimming skills, particularly in communities historically excluded from aquatic activities.
  4. Use Approved Life Jackets: Wearing Coast Guard-approved life jackets is essential for boating or open water activities.
  5. Prepare for Emergencies: CPR training is crucial for anyone supervising children near water. Keep a charged phone nearby to call 911 in case of emergencies.

By implementing these measures, caregivers can significantly reduce the risk of drowning and ensure a safer water experience for children.

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