Summer means more time spent outside as families flock to the pool, beach, or lake to cool off and have fun. But before your kids head out for a swim, it’s important to know the risks: Drowning is the leading cause of death among children ages 1 to 4, and the second-leading cause of accidental death for children ages 5 to 14, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Pools and spas sent an estimated 6,300 kids under age 15 to the emergency room last year due to nonfatal drowning injuries. In addition, deep racial disparities in drowning death rates persist, with the highest among Black children ages 10 to 14, who are 3.6 times more likely to drown than their white counterparts.
The good news: “If everyone follows water safety guidance, injuries are entirely preventable,” says Dr. Mindy Stimell-Rauch, a pediatric emergency medicine specialist at NewYork-Presbyterian Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital. “Parents and caregivers need to be vigilant and put the health and safety of children first.”
Below, Dr. Stimell-Rauch shares with Health Matters 10 simple ways to keep your friends and family safe so they can enjoy a healthy and fun summer season by the water.