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The Rolla Daily News - Rolla, MO
  • Health department offers water safety tips

  • You may be tempted at the pool or creek to put your child's water wings on them and let them go play while you relax in a deck chair or catch up on social media.
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  • You may be tempted at the pool or creek to put your child’s water wings on them and let them go play while you relax in a deck chair or catch up on social media.
    The Phelps/Maries County Health Department is telling parents: don’t do it.
    Nearly 1,000 children drown every year.
    According to Safe Kids Worldwide, drowning is the leading cause of injury-related death for children ages 1 to 4 years old, and the second leading cause for children under age 14.
    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) say a lack of close supervision is one of the main factors leading to children drowning.
    “Keep both eyes wide open and on your children,” said Phelps/Maries County Health Department Administrator Jodi Waltman. “All kids need to be constantly supervised in and around water, even if they know how to swim.”
    Water wings and inflatable devices are not effective at preventing children from drowning.
    Parents should choose a properly fitting Coast Guard-approved life jacket that fits their child snugly and matches their weight and size.
    Life jackets that have a strap between the legs and a head collar should be used for children younger than 5 years old.  
    “A life jacket should never replace adult supervision,” said Waltman.  
    “Young children can drown in less than two inches of water, and it can happen so quickly,” she said. “Never take your eyes off them, even to reply to a text or make a quick phone call, and don’t trust another child to watch them for you.”
    Waltman urges parents to provide “touch supervision” by staying within at least an arm’s reach of young children and weak swimmers.
    “Evidence from the CDC also shows that swimming lessons and the use of life jackets can reduce a child’s risk of drowning, but constant adult supervision is vital,” said Waltman.

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