Summer is quickly approaching which means families will soon be around pools and lakes. Cambree Applegate, Director of Safe Kids Utah, stopped by KUTV to give parents some tips on how to preventing drowning.
Drowning often doesn’t look like drowning.
- Drowning is often silent. It’s not the “Hollywood” version you might think with screaming and splashing.
- It can happen in less than an inch of water.
It takes only seconds for a child to drown. Never leave a child alone by water, even for a few minutes.
In Utah, we see an average of about 10 kids under the age of 19 drown each year.
In Utah, we see three distinct drowning patterns with children.
- The most common scenario is toddlers wandering away during a weekend family gathering – with several adults present but none designated as a “child watcher” – and falling into an open body of water like a pond or stream.
- Teenage boys swimming with friends at a lake or reservoir. These are often “witnessed” drownings because their friends see them go under the water and are unable to rescue them. Overestimating swimming abilities and peer pressure to take risks are factors in these deaths.
- Babies left alone in bathtubs with an older sibling to watch them.
Parents must actively watch their children around water! This means putting down the phone, saving conversations for another time, and looking at the child the entire time they are by water. You should be an arm’s length from them in the water.
Other prevention tips include: Learning CPR; emptying buckets, pools, etc. after use; enclosing pools with locked fences; wearing US Coast Guard approved lifejackets while on boats or swimming in open bodies of water, teaching kids how to swim at a young age.