Beware of Summer Drowning Dangers!

Kia McCarthy, NP
Reliant Medical Group Pediatrics

It’s summertime, a time of year when families love to spend time in and around the water. While frolicking in oceans, lakes, and pools can be joyful activities, water fun can be dangerous. Drowning is one of the leading causes of accidental deaths in the United States, typically causing over 4,000 deaths a year, and is the leading cause of death for children.

The best defense against drowning is often common sense (caregiver vigilance).

For example, never take a canoe out on the lake at midnight, don’t go swimming in heavy surf or swim too far from shore, and don’t let your children play in the water unless an adult is watching them closely. Here are some more tips on how to stay safe around the water this summer:

Learn to swim: Formal swimming lessons can help reduce the risk of drowning, especially among young children. Remember that all children, even if they know how to swim well, still need supervision around the water.

Make sure your pool is fenced in properly: Barriers to pools help prevent young children from gaining access and keep them out of danger. Check your local regulations for your town’s requirements.

Avoid alcohol: Combining drinking with swimming and boating has been proven to be dangerous. You should also avoid alcohol if you are supervising children at the pool or the beach.

Use the Buddy System: Regardless of your age, always swim, snorkel, or scuba-dive with a buddy to be safe.

Be aware of rip currents: These dangerous currents often occur during rough surf. If you get caught in a rip current that’s pulling you out to sea, don’t panic. Swim parallel to the shore until you are out of the current, then swim back in (towards shore).

Use U.S. Coast Guard approved life jackets: Every boat, kayak or canoe needs a life jacket for each passenger. Be sure to wear them every time you’re out on the water.

Don’t hold your breath: Swimmers should never hold their breath before swimming underwater. This can cause “shallow water blackout” due to hypoxia (low oxygen) in the brain and lead to drowning. You can learn more about this dangerous condition here.

Learn CPR: Learning how to resuscitate a drowning victim can mean the difference between life and death. Check with your local Red Cross to learn about classes in CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation).

Remember that almost all drownings are preventable. Following the guidelines above and avoiding distractions while supervising children is the best way to prevent a tragedy from occurring. Please be safe around the water this summer!


Beware of Summer Drowning Dangers!

About Kia McCarthy, NP

A graduate of Connecticut College and Simmons College, Kia started her career as a nurse in 2004. “I have nurses in my family and have been very lucky to work with extremely dedicated and talented nurse practitioners during my career,” she explains. “When the opportunity presented itself to expand my knowledge as a nurse practitioner to provide more comprehensive care, I decided to jump right in.”

For Kia, there is no more...

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