Indianapolis – Seven Indiana children died between May 30 and June 13 this year. This is the equivalent of one child every other day. Making their deaths even more tragic is the cause: drowning. Over the past three years, more than 42 children have died in Indiana’s waterways and public or private swimming pools.
As Indiana summer heats up, the number of people entering Indiana’s waterways will increase and so will the risk to Indiana swimmers.
This past month, three Indiana State agencies are attempting to raise awareness of the problem. The Department of Child Services (DCS), the Department of Natural Resources (DNR), and the Indiana State Department of Health joined with the Indianapolis Parks and Recreation Department to focus on the guidelines every parent should know in order to guarantee the safety of their children in and around water.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, drowning is the leading cause of injury death for young children ages 1 to 4. Across the nation, an average of three children die every day from drowning. With the arrival of summer in Indiana, the risk to children will increase 89 percent compared to the rest of the year. Many families will be in the water this summer. Most will swim in locations without a lifeguard.
The CDC lists several key factors that increase the risk of water injury and drowning:
• Lack of Supervision and Barriers.
• Natural Water Settings (such as lakes, rivers, or the ocean).
• Lack of Life Jacket Use in Recreational Boating.
• Alcohol Use.
• Seizure Disorders.
The Dept. of Child Services also distributed a handy one-page Drowning Fact Sheet that is free to the public: http://www.in.gov/dcs/files/drowningfactsheet062011.pdf. The fact sheet includes numerous swimming pool, open water and boating safety tips.
The law firm of Montross Miller Muller Mendelson and Kennedy, LLP suggest that all Indiana residents educate themselves on water safety and take the necessary steps to keep themselves and their loved ones safe while having fun in the water.