GCHD urges residents to take steps to prevent drowning

FLINT — The Genesee County Health Department (GCHD) urges residents to prevent drowning by observing safe practices in and around water.

Every year, it is estimated that there are 3,960 fatal drownings in the United States (11 per day).

Additionally, there are approximately 8,080 nonfatal drownings each year (22 per day). While nonfatal drownings do not result in loss of life, drowning injuries can cause brain damage and other serious outcomes, such as long-term disability.

In the United States, except for birth defects, more children between the ages 1 and 4 die of drowning than any other cause of death. Any spot with water is an area where parents are reminded to be vigilant and take preventative action against drowning.

Drowning is not always obvious. Parents should look out for any signs of a struggle. Many drownings tend to be quiet rather than loud screaming or thrashing in the water.

Dr. Pamela Hackert, Medical Health Officer at Genesee County Health Department reminds parents to “keep your kids in a life jacket if they do not know how to swim or are not confident yet in their swimming abilities”.

Life jackets are the easiest way to prevent death and injury on the water. Do not use floaties, swimmies, turtle shells or other devices that will not keep your child’s head above water.

Please use the following water safety recommendations to prevent drownings: • Maintain constant adult supervision of children in and around water.

• Do not swim without a life vest if you are unable to swim or at an increased risk of drowning (epilepsy, seizure disorders, narcolepsy, etc.).

• Swim in public pools with a certified lifeguard.

• Install physical barriers around a pool area (i.e. fence) that include self-closing, self-latching gates.

• Install window and door alarms that sound when breached.

• Use pool safety covers.

• Use pool alarms that float on the surface of the pool.

• Use alarms that go around a child’s wrist and sound if the wrist touches water.

• Tell children to stay away from pool and spa drains.

• When at a party, designate a sober adult water watcher (using a distinguishable item such as a lanyard or funny hat) for 15-minute intervals. The water watcher’s sole responsibility is to watch the pool area and not read, talk on the phone or engage in other distractions. After 15 minutes, give the distinguishable item to another adult for the next watch.

• Consume alcohol responsibly when in and around water