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Drowning Dangers Still Present as Summer Season Comes to an End

BATON ROUGE - As families celebrate this Labor Day Weekend, the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) reminds parents and caregivers that the potential risk of drowning, whether in a swimming pool or natural body of water, is still present.

Since 2000, DCFS has investigated 65 accidental deaths caused by drowning in an outdoor body of water. On average, four Louisiana children die each year in pools, lakes, rivers, canals, ponds and ditches.

"Hotter temperatures in Louisiana mean we often spend our Labor Day celebrations in the water," said DCFS Secretary Suzy Sonnier. "Whether swimming in pools, or boating in our lakes and bayous, it is important that someone always keeps an eye on children and is able to recognize when someone needs help and respond quickly in order to prevent tragedy."

According to Safe Kids Worldwide, drowning is the leading cause of injury-related death among children between one and four years old and is the third leading cause of death among children older than four. Drowning incidents can also increase up to 89 percent during the summer months, as compared with the rest of the year.

Safe Kids Worldwide offers the following swimming safety tips:

  • Actively supervise children in and around open bodies of water, giving them your undivided attention.
  • When there are several adults present and children are swimming, prevent lapses in supervision by establishing "shifts" that designate a single adult who will watch the children in the water for a certain period of time, like 15 minutes.
  • Whether you're swimming in a backyard pool or in a lake, teach children to swim with a partner every time. From the start, teach children to never go near or in water without an adult present.
  • Educate your children about the dangers of drain entanglement and entrapment and teach them to never play or swim near drains or suction outlets.
  • Look, don't just listen. Many times, a person in drowning distress is calm and quiet under the water, not thrashing at the top.
  • Remove all toys from the pool area when it's not in use to keep children from going near the area.
  • If you are the pool's owner, install a four-foot-high fence around all sides of the pool, along with a locked gate that's beyond a child's reach.
  • Learn CPR.
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