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FOR RELEASE: June 6, 2000
Treading Safe Waters
For many families, visits to the community pool, lake, water park or beach are essential rituals of the summer experience. But smooth waters can turn to rough ones when basic water safety is ignored. The majority of all drownings occur between May and August.
"Toddlers and children love to play in water. They're so attracted to water, they often are not aware of the dangers," said Martha Collar, coordinator, Oklahoma SAFE KIDS Coalition, a program of the Oklahoma State Department of Health. "Children can drown in as little as one inch of water in a matter of seconds and it can happen in the time it takes a parent or caregiver to answer the phone."
Drowning is the second leading cause of unintentional injury-related death among children ages 14 and under with children under age 5 at the highest risk. Many drownings and near-drownings occur when children are left unattended by a pool or in the bathtub.
Adults and children over age 13 should learn infant and child cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), in the event of a near-drowning. In addition, SAFE KIDS offers the following safety tips to prevent drownings:
Water Safety at the Swimming Pool
A pool is 14 times more likely than a motor vehicle to be involved in the unintentional death of children ages 4 and under. Sixty percent of drownings occur in residential pools.
Water Safety for Natural Bodies of Water
The majority of drownings among older children occur in open bodies of water. These drownings occur when an older child overestimates his or her swimming ability or when he or she is swimming in an unsupervised area.
Diving is one of the most hazardous water activities. Most diving-related injuries occur in pools with five feet of water or less.
Water Safety in the Home
Even water-filled buckets, bathtubs, hot tubs, sinks and toilets can be potential drowning hazards. Children under age 1 most frequently drown in bathtubs, buckets and toilets.
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