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Offered by: Michele Tuepker, MD – Premier Pediatrics

With warmer days approaching, families will be spending more time around water. Drowning and near-drowning are leading causes of injury-related death and emergency room visits, with risks highest in children under the age of 4 and adolescent males. In children under the age of 4, unsupervised, unexpected access to water is the major factor in these preventable accidents.

While pools, and large bodies of water carry risks, drowning is possible in small amounts of standing water, including in buckets, toilets, etc. Water safety has many components, including but not limited to the ability to swim. Whenever possible, children should be introduced to the water at a young age. Lessons can benefit children as young as 1, but a healthy respect for water safety is just as important. An adult should always be in the water and within arms reach of a child who is unable to swim. Judicious use of life jackets should be encouraged, especially in large bodies of water, even for proficient swimmers.

It is important, however, to ensure that life jackets do not provide a false sense of security for individuals who do not know how to swim. Barriers around swimming pools should be secured when pools are not in use. Children should be taught to stay away from water without a responsible adult present, and nobody should be in the water without someone outside of the water whose job it is to lifeguard. Learn CPR. Have a fun and safe summer.

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