By Ashley Bergner
Whether it’s boating out on the lake or a barbecue by a backyard swimming pool, Memorial Day celebrations often involve the water. Although these activities may seem like the perfect way to kick off the summer, they can turn deadly if safety rules aren’t followed.
The danger is particularly great for children, and Newton firefighter/paramedic Faber Porter said children should never be allowed to play in the water unsupervised.
“If you’ve got young children, you can’t let them out of your sight, even for a second,” he said.
According to Safe Kids Kansas, drowning is the second highest cause of unintentional death for children ages 1 to 4 and 10 to 14 in the United States. Overall, about 830 children ages 14 and younger die each year due to unintentional drownings. From 2000 to 2009, there were 73 unintentional drowning-related deaths in Kansas, ages 14 years and younger. Three-quarters of those deaths occurred in children ages 3 and younger.
“Kids drown quickly and quietly,” Cherie Sage, state director for Safe Kids Kansas, said in a news release. “A drowning child cannot cry or shout for help. The most important precaution for parents is active supervision. Simply being near your child is not necessarily supervising.”
To help keep kids safe, Safe Kids Kansas recommends taking these precautions:
These guidelines apply to inflatable and portable pools, not just in-ground pools. Safe Kids Kansas reports a child can drown in just an inch of water. Kiddie pools should be emptied and stored out of reach when not in use.
Other water safety tips
For more safety tips, visit www.safekids.org.