How to prevent drowning deaths

Caring For Our Kids

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Drowning remains the leading cause of death for young children, and those under the age of 4 are more likely to drown at home in a bathroom or water container.

East Tennessee Children’s Hospital physician Dr. Shannon Cohen, shares tips on drowning prevention and water safety.

Warning signs of drowning

  • Head low in the water, mouth at water level
  • Head tilted back with mouth open
  • Eyes glassy, unable to focus
  • Hyperventilating or gasping
  • Not using legs to kick while swimming

Preventing Drowning

Cohen urges parents to never to leave a child alone in or near water even if the child has had swimming lessons because the lessons don’t make a child drowning-proof.

Children can die even when adults are around because drowning is silent. Always have adult supervision when children are around water. For situations like pool parties, it’s a good idea to appoint one or two parents as pool watchers to watch the children.

Make sure your child cannot unlock a door or gate leading to the pool. Children should not have access to a pool by themselves.

Always wear a life jacket when riding in or swimming around a boat

Teach kids swimming in open water is not the same as swimming in a pool. Open water drowning is the biggest risk for teens and young adults. Some of the reasons include uneven surfaces, rocks, currents, and undertow. In addition, teens are also more likely to participate in risky behaviors like cliff jumping, cave diving, drinking alcohol or not wearing a life jacket.

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