FLORENCE, SC (WMBF) - McLeod Safe Kids Pee Dee/Coastal want to remind parents and caregivers to watch kids closely and carefully supervise children at all times when they're in and around water.
"Whether it's a trip to the beach or a dip in the community or backyard pool, you can ensure that swimming is as safe as it is fun by following a few basic safety tips, starting with keeping your eyes on your kids at all times," said Ashley Costas, McLeod Safe Kids Pee Dee/Coastal Injury Prevention Coordinator.
Studies show that although 90 percent of parents say that they supervise their children while swimming, many admit that they engage in other activities at the same time like talking, eating, reading or taking care of another child.
"A drowning child cannot cry or shout for help, so simply being near your child doesn't always help," said Costas.
Drowning is the second leading cause of unintentional injury-related death for children ages one to 19.
On average, more than 1,000 children die each year due to unintentional drowning and more than 5,000 are hospitalized for injuries from near-drowning incidents.
Even a near-drowning incident can have lifelong consequences. Kids who survive a near-drowning may have brain damage, and after four to six minutes under water the damage is usually irreversible.
McLeod Safe Kids Pee Dee/Coastal recommends the following five tips to keep kids safe in and around water:
1. Give kids your undivided attention. Actively supervise children in and around water, without distraction.
2. Use the Water Watcher strategy. When there are several adults present and children are swimming, designate an adult as the Water Watcher for a certain amount of time (such as 15-minute periods) to prevent lapses in supervision and give parents a chance to read, make phone calls or take a bathroom break.
3. Teach kids not to swim alone. Whether you're swimming in a backyard pool or in a lake, teach children to swim with an adult. Older, more experienced swimmers should still swim with a partner every time. From the first time your kids swim, teach children to never go near or in water without an adult present.
4. Learn CPR. We know you have a million things to do, but learning CPR should be on the top of the list. It will give you tremendous peace of mind – and the more peace of mind you have as a parent, the better.
5. Be extra careful around pool drains. Educate your children about the dangers of drain entanglement and entrapment and teach them to never play or swim near drains or suction outlets.
For more information, contact McLeod Safe Kids Pee Dee/Coastal at (843) 777-5021. You can also visit www.McLeodSafeKids.org.