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For Release: July 27, 2010
Contact:  Pamela Williams
Office of Communications
(405) 271-5601

Be Watchful of Children In and Around Water

Several weeks of hot summer weather remaining in Oklahoma provide an unfortunate opportunity for unintentional injury deaths among children. According to Safe Kids USA, drowning-related deaths among children increase 89 percent during the months of May through August, and more than 800 children younger than 15 years of age die each year as a result of unintentional drowning in the United States.

In Oklahoma, drowning is the leading cause of unintentional injury death among children 1 to 4 years of age. In 2008, there were 14 drowning deaths among children younger than 10 years of age. The Oklahoma State Department of Health and Safe Kids USA would like to remind Oklahoma families to be watchful of children in and around water this summer.

Facts Caregivers Should Know

  1. Children can drown in as little as one to two inches of water.
  2. Nine out of 10 fatal drownings occur during a brief lapse in supervision. It only takes a second of looking away for a child to get into a dangerous situation!
  3. Although swim lessons are an important skill for children to learn, knowing how to swim does not prevent drowning.
  4. The majority of drowning deaths among children younger than 1 year old occur in bathtubs, buckets, or toilets.
  5. The majority of children who die in recreational boating incidents are not wearing life jackets/personal flotation devices.

Water Safety Tips

  1. Always supervise children when they are in or around water. This includes bathtubs, toilets, hot tubs, swimming pools, lakes, creeks, drainage ditches, and any other bodies of water. Children should only swim in designated and well-supervised swimming areas – there is no substitute for active adult supervision. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that adults provide “touch supervision” for young children (a child should be within an adult’s reach at all times).
  2. Talk to your children. Teach children water safety rules and skills appropriate for their age.
  3. Use personal flotation devices when appropriate. Products such as swimming noodles and water wings are not safety devices – they should never be used in the place of life jackets or personal flotation devices. Properly fitting, U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jackets should be used by adults and children when participating in open water activities as appropriate.
  4. Be prepared. Learn CPR and know how to use rescue equipment in case of emergency.

Additional water safety information can be found on the following websites:

Safe Kids USA, http://www.safekids.org/safety-basics/safety-resources-by-risk-area/drowning/

American Academy of Pediatrics Healthy Children, http://www.healthychildren.org/English/safety-prevention/at-play/Pages/Water-Safety-And-Young-Children.aspx.



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