Tips to keep your child safe while swimming this summer

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Every day approximately 10 people die from drowning and two of them are children 14 years or younger. (KABC)

Every day approximately 10 people die from drowning and two of them are children 14 years or younger.

Drowning is the fifth leading cause of unintentional injury death in the U.S.

As everyone heads to the pool and beach this summer, E.R. doctors have some strong advice for parents.

Miles Hoffer, 15 months old, doesn't want to jump in the pool during his swimming lesson. But accidental falls account for most drownings in his age group.

Dr. Richard Kang, medical director of the pediatric intensive care unit at Dignity Health Northridge Hospital said about 350 people under the age of 5 drown every year.

Kang said lack of swimming ability, adequate fencing and close supervision increase a child's risk for drowning.

"The common story is that they were left alone for no less than 1 or 2 minutes and are found submerged," Kang said.

Granada Hills mother of two Lynn Hoffer said she never leaves her kids in the pool even if she has to run inside.

"I take them with me out of the pool and they're with me at all times," Hoffer said.

Kang discourages the use of water wings because they can deflate. He prefers parents use life vests.

Technology can help. Electronic wrist bands alert parents if kids end up in the pool when they're not supposed to.

While devices and swimming classes help. Studies show that children who know how to swim still drown, so nothing can replace an attentive adult.

"If you're there together with other family members, someone has to be responsible for each child," Kang said.

Secondary or "dry" drowning is something many parents aren't aware of either.

"If they get some pool water in the lungs and then they're pulled out. And later on, up to 24 hours later, they develop an inflammatory reaction in the lungs. They can get into trouble that way," Kang said.

After swimming, you should call a doctor if your child is coughing, wheezing and shows signs of confusion or sleepiness.

Kang said any parent of a child who swims should know CPR.

"Most of the time, the parent is going to be the first responder," he said.

Besides pools, drowning can occur in bathtubs and even buckets - so be watchful.

For more summer and swimming safety tips, you can head to the American Academy of Pediatrics website.
Related Topics:
healthswimmingdrowningchildrenchildren's healthcprhealthy livingpoolsafety
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