Drownings can be easily prevented

Published 12:00 am Sunday, May 9, 2004

Our boating columnist, Joe DiRenzo III, recently focused on the 2004 National SAFEKIDs campaign, which lasted May 1 – 8. This year the campaign, conducted by one of the largest non-profits dedicated to preventing injury to children focused on drowning. With Suffolk pools getting ready to open, and local Hampton Road beaches preparing for visitors a reminder about drowning prevention is needed.

According to SAFEKIDS, &uot;Drowning is the second leading cause of unintentional injury-related death among children ages 1 to 14 and the leading cause of unintentional injury-related death among children ages 1 to 4. The majority of drownings and near-drownings occur in residential swimming pools and in open water sites. Children however, can drown in as little as one inch of water. This means that items such as hot tubs, wading pools, bathtubs, and even toilets, are all possible locations where children can drown.

The SAFEKIDS press release goes on to state that &uot;drownings and near-drownings can happen in a matter of seconds and typically occur when a child is left unattended or during a brief lapse in supervision. Two minutes following submersion, a child will lose consciousness. Irreversible brain damage occurs after four to six minutes and determines the immediate and long-term survival of a child.

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What can you do to prevent drowning? SAFEKIDS suggests the following;

nNever leave a child unsupervised in or around water in the home. Empty all containers immediately after use and store out of reach. Install four-sided fencing, which are at least five feet high.

nNever leave a child, of any age, unsupervised in or around a swimming pool or spa, river, even for a moment.

nLearn CPR and keep rescue equipment, a telephone and emergency numbers poolside. Our local Suffolk Red Cross Chapter is a great place to start for CPR Training.

nAlways wear a U.S. Coast Guard-approved PFD when on a boat, near open bodies of water or when participating in any type of water sports … especially on personal water craft. Those air-filled swimming aids, which are sold in discount and sports stores are potentially helpful in teaching children to swim however they are not substitutes for Coast Guard approved PFDs.

SAFEKIDS remind us that the majority of children who survive (92 percent) are discovered within two minutes following submersion, and most children who die (86 percent) are found after 10 minutes. Nearly all who require cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) die or are left with severe brain injury.&uot;

Drowning is a serious issue Suffolk….take the time to do all you can to prevent it.