Health department warns of childhood drowning dangers

The Franklin-Williamson Bi-County Health Department warns families of the dangers of childhood drowning.

Governor Pat Quinn proclaimed May as Childhood Drowning Prevention month in Illinois.

It is important to actively supervise children when they are in or near water to prevent accidental tragedies from drowning, according to Franklin-Williamson Bi-County Health Department.

In Illinois, 19 children lost their lives due to accidental drowning in 2009. Drowning is the leading cause of deaths in children ages 1 to 4.

The American Red Cross identifies four crucial elements to childhood water safety:

  1. Maintain constant supervision. Watch children around any water environment (pool, stream, lake, tub, toilet, bucket of water) no matter what skills your child has acquired and no matter how shallow the water.  For younger children, practice "Reach Supervision" by staying within an arm's length reach.
  2. Don't rely on substitutes.  The use of flotation devices and inflatable toys cannot replace parental supervision.  Such devices could suddenly shift position, lose air, or slip out from underneath, leaving the child in a dangerous situation.
  3. Enroll children in a water safety course or Learn-to-Swim classes.  Your decision to provide your child with an early aquatic experience is a gift that will have infinite rewards.  These courses encourage safe practices.  You can also purchase a Water Safety Handbook at a Red Cross Store.
  4. Parents should take a CPR course.  Knowing these skills can be important around water and expand the capability to provide care for your child.  Contact your local Red Cross or community college to enroll in a CPR course.

For more information about drowning prevention, contact Franklin-Williamson Bi-County Health Department at (618) 993-8111 or (618) 439-0951or visit their web site at www.bicountyhealth.org.

Copyright 2011 KFVS. All rights reserved.