A recent report from the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) emphasizes the importance of awareness surrounding drowning and the continued danger it poses to children. Drowning is the primary incidental cause of death of children ages one to four, and 88% of child drownings occur with at least one adult present.
Fatal incidents of child drowning peaked in 2016 with 389 reported fatalities of children younger than 15, and 74% of these were children under the age of five. June was the month with the highest number of reported drowning fatalities, and 72% of these drowning incidents occurred in residential locations.
Parents can take simple steps to ensure their children’s safety in and around water, including supervising children who are near water, teaching children how to swim, learning how to perform CPR, checking all pools for drain covers (in order to ensure that a child’s limb does not become stuck in a drain), installing a four-foot tall, self-locking fence around residential pools, and frequently checking cspc.gov for recalls of pool equipment and toys. Parents can also look at KID’s page for Product Hazards- Drowning for tips surrounding water safety, including tips for fencing pool areas (according to the AAP, proper fencing can prevent over half of pool-related drownings for young children), and the avoidance of bath seats and landscaping features such as ponds.
One June 10, 2018, Levi Hughes and Emmy Miller both drowned in separate incidents. Their parents have turned their grief into advocacy by sharing their stories and advocating for greater pool safety awareness. Both couples were honored at KID’s 2019 Best Friends Awards Night. Parents can take the Pool Safely Pledge to promise the continued safety of their children in the water and to learn more about this critical issue.