BATON ROUGE, La (BRPROUD) — May is National Water Safety Month and the Louisiana Department of Health wants parents to be aware for the precautions to take to prevent child drownings as summer approaches.
According to the recent Louisiana Child Death Review Report, drowning was the third leading cause of death for children ages zero to 14 between 2017 and 2019. After five consecutive years of decreasing child drownings in Louisiana, 2020 was one of the deadliest in recent history. Louisiana experienced a 60% increase in the number of infant and child drownings (ages 0-14), from 15 in 2019 to 24 in 2020.
According to preliminary LDH data, in 2021, 25 infants and children in Louisiana drowned.
The top factors included:
- 96 percent of children did not know how to swim
- 72 percent of children were not supervised
- 54 percent of children had no barriers around the water
Of the children of Louisiana, over half drowned in the pool, hot tub, or spa.
“Tragically, the number of children in Louisiana we have lost to drowning continues to increase,” said State Health Officer Dr. Joseph Kanter. “I urge everyone to follow a few simple, but critical steps to keep you and your children safe around the water we all love to enjoy.”
Families can take several important precautions to help prevent drowning:
- Watch children when they are in or around water at all times; avoid getting distracted.
- Teach children how to swim and water survival skills.
- Take CPR classes. Visit cpr.heart.org to find a class near you.
- If you own a pool or spa, install layers of protection, including a four-sided fence with a self-closing, self-latching gate.
- Keep children away from pool drains, pipes and other openings to avoid entrapments.
- Wear a U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket when boating or participating in other water activities.
- Swim in designated swimming areas and use extreme caution around natural bodies of water which may have unpredictable currents and undertow.
PoolSafely.gov has brochures, Water Watcher cards, fact sheets, social media tools, videos and much more.