Steps to take to prevent children from accidentally drowning this summer

COVID pandemic put swim lessons on hold

4 ways to reduce risk around pools
4 ways to reduce risk around pools

DETROIT – A recent report suggests the number of children at risk for drowning has increased significantly over the past year as the COVID pandemic put many swim lessons on hold.

Experts are offering four ways to reduce your family’s risk in the water this summer. Drowning is the leading cause of accidental death for kids between the ages of one and four years old. It’s one of the top causes of death for older children and teens too.

The first way to reduce the risk of death is to start swim lessons early. Even children as young as one can begin to learn water safety skills.

Swim lessons are no substitute for the second factor -- supervision is important. It’s essential to have one person solely focused on supervising children in the water. Emergency Room doctor Purva Grover said children often drown surrounded by others.

“The most common instance of really, of these drownings or near-drownings, happen in public pools or private pools where there are a large amount of people,” Grover said.

The third way to reduce the risk of death is to prevent access to pools. About 70% of children under the age of five who drown were not expected to be in or around the pool when it happened. Install self-latching gates and empty kiddie pools when they’re not in use.

The fourth way to reduce the risk of death is to learn CPR. It’s a lifesaving skill.

“Especially when talking about drownings specifically, CPR given at the site can truly modify the overall outcome and prevent long-term disability and death as well,” Grover said.

Grover said she always tells parents if their child goes missing, check the pool first.

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About the Authors:

Karen Drew is the anchor of Local 4 News First at 4, weekdays at 4 p.m. She is also an award-winning investigative reporter and part of the Local 4 Defenders team.

Kayla is a Web Producer for ClickOnDetroit. Before she joined the team in 2018 she worked at WILX in Lansing as a digital producer.