Drowning is the second leading cause of unintentional death among children in the United States. Whether you are spending time at a pool, lake or beach this summer, it is important for parents to always designate a ‘water watcher’. Water watchers must stay in close proximity to their children and keep an eye on them at all times as they play in the water. It is recommended to select swimming areas with lifeguards on duty that are trained to administer CPR.
Having the proper water safety equipment is also important. Children who cannot swim or who are just beginning to learn may need to wear a personal floatation device (PFD) properly fitted to their weight and age. When selecting floatation devices, it is important to find one that is U.S. Coast Guard certified and is designed to the appropriate level for your child. Pool toys such as noodles or inflatable “floaties” are not appropriate, life-saving floatation devices. With small children and infants using inflatable pool floats, a parent or guardian should always be within arm’s reach.
While swim lessons are definitely encouraged for all children to help ensure water safety, just because a child can swim, does not mean they should ever be left unmonitored near a body of water. Children can drown in as little as one inch of water, which is why it’s important to supervise them even in shallow, portable pools and to drain the water when it’s not in use.
In any incidence of a drowning or severe heat-related incidence, parents should call 911 immediately and let local EMS get their children to the correct emergency facility. Cone Health Pediatric Emergency Department is located at Moses Cone Hospital, with an exceptional team of pediatric emergency medicine specialists and related healthcare professionals dedicated to providing the best care possible for children throughout the community.
Dr. Ross Kuhner is the medical director and board-certified pediatric emergency medicine specialist at Cone Health’s Children’s Emergency Department located at Moses Cone Hospital. Dr. Kuhner is a 2003 graduate of the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine. He completed his residency in pediatrics at University of North Carolina Hospitals and completed a fellowship in pediatric emergency medicine at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio.