According to a new federal report, drowning kills more young American children ages 1 to 4 years old than any cause except birth defects. Half of those children drown in swimming pools but toddlers or small children also drown in bathtubs or even buckets of water. In 2001, 859 children 14 years old or younger died as a result of drowning and, in 2002; an estimated 2,700 children in this age group were treated in hospital emergency rooms for near-drowning episodes. Many who survived after a near-drowning event suffered permanent brain damage.
Parents and pool owners must take all the necessary precautions to prevent an accidental drowning. Access to both in-ground and above-ground pools should be blocked with fences, locking gates, and sensor or movement alarms. In addition, a child should have swimming lessons. The goal is to teach the toddler or child basic water survival skills they can use long enough to get them to safety or until a parent or caregiver can get them safely out of the water.
If you would like to learn more about water safety, the American Academy of Pediatrics has a very informative publication on prevention of drowning in infants, children and adolescents . In addition, you can also find out more on drowning prevention at Safe Kids USA.
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