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Kids in the Pool Need Undivided Attention


In the two minutes it takes to answer a phone call, a child can lose consciousness in a swimming pool. The recent drowning death of a five year old boy in the Springfield area has adults on high alert around the pool. Safe Kids USA is working to educate families on ways to prevent similar accidents from happening to their children. KSMU’s Justin Lux took time to discuss precautions with a local expert.

Despite a 40 percent decline since 1987, Safe Kids estimates that drowning is still the second leading cause of unintentional injury-related death to children ages one to fourteen. The water claims more than 900 children’s lives each year in the U.S.

Daphne Greenlee, a Safe Kids coordinator, says keeping an eye on children in the water at all times is the key to avoiding accidents.

“Most active thing that a parent can do is give the child undivided attention. That means no talking on the cell phone, no sun bathing, no reading their books. Just focus all of their attention on the child itself,” Greenlee says.

Safe Kids reports that the leading cause of drowning is a lack of attention by the supervising adults. Greenlee says it is important to always use the buddy system and to know the rules of the pool.

“Make sure that when you are at the pool that the child is always in the water with a buddy, whether it be another child or another adult. Make sure that they know the rules of the pool, no running near them. Make sure they also know where are the appropriate places to swim or dive,” says Greenlee.

It is possible for infants to drown in only an inch of water so always be sure to empty all buckets, containers and wading pools immediately after using them.

Safe Kids reminds people that inflatable toys like water noodles do not prevent drowning.

As the summer continues to heat up, public pools are used more often, but just because a lifeguard is on duty does not mean the risks go away. The Drowning Prevention Foundation reports that nearly one in five drowning deaths involving children happened in the presence of a lifeguard at a public pool.

For KSMU News, I’m Justin Lux.

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