As child drownings increase, experts provide swimming safety tips
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - A two-year-old is in critical condition after she was pulled out of a residential pool Sunday. When first responders arrived at a home on Libcomb Avenue in Valley Station just after 12 p.m., EMS found a family member performing CPR on the child, who was resuscitated. The little girl was rushed to Norton Children’s Hospital, where she is listed in critical condition.
New government data shows child drownings are on the rise and it remains the leading cause of death for kids one to four years old. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, children younger than five-years-old account for 75% of child drownings, 57% of which are because of a lack in adult supervision.
The National Safety Council reports that 600 children and adults drown annually in swimming pools, 330 are in home pools. Some of the people who survive a near-drowning accident could have life-changing injuries, including permanent brain damage.
WAVE 3 News spoke to the Lexington Emergency Management Office on pool safety tips for young children.
- Never leave a child unattended in or near water. Even if a lifeguard is present, designate an official water watcher to supervise children in the water. That should be their only task, they shouldn’t be reading or on their cell phone.
- Install layers of barriers to prevent small children from entering the water without supervision. It could be a fence, locking gates, covers, or alarms.
- Teach children to stay away from pool drains. Children’s hair or bathing suits could get caught, leading to an injury.
- Teach children how to swim. During the pandemic last summer, many swim lessons were canceled to lower the risk of spreading COVID-19. As of May, many local programs are re-open to the public.
- Learn CPR on children and adults. Many communities offer online training.
“A lot of drownings happen with people who just get tired, they go under water, there is no splashing, there is no commotion,” said John Bobel, Lexington Emergency Management Public Information Officer. “They go under water, they take in water and they sink. So unless you have eyes on the person in the water all the time, it’s very easy to lose sight of them.”
Bobel also has a warning about youth flotation devices. Unless it is approved by U.S. Coast Guard, he said it may not be effective at keeping a small child from drowning in the water.
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