La Dept of Health: Local number of child drownings increased in 2020
BATON ROUGE - According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), every day, about ten people die from unintentional drowning. Of these, federal health officials say two of these daily victims are children aged 14 or younger.
Drowning ranks fifth among the leading causes of unintentional injury death in the United States and as Louisiana is a state with a number of bayous, lakes, rivers, and other waterways, drowning has been a major concern over the years.
A Tuesday news release from the Louisiana Department of Health noted that after five consecutive years of decreasing child drownings in Louisiana, 2020 was one of the deadliest in recent history.
Department of Health officials say the state experienced a 60% increase in the number of infant and child drownings (ages 0-14), from 15 in 2019 to 24 in 2020.
With summer's hot weather approaching along with the likelihood of increased recreation at water sources and pools, local health officials are urging parents and families to stay aware of the precautions they can take to prevent child drownings.
Dr. Joseph Kanter, State Health Officer said, "Water safety and drowning prevention efforts remain as important as ever, especially as families return to water activities at pools, lakes and beaches."
"Louisiana's latest numbers confirm that most child drownings occur in the warmer months and among children ages 1-4," Kanter continued. "This year, I urge everyone to take critical steps to reverse the upward trend in fatal child drownings."
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) data from 2017-19 show that Louisiana has the fourth highest drowning rate for children 1-14 years in the United States, and drowning remains the third leading cause of death for Louisiana children in this age group.
Officials say families may want to implement the following precautions:
-Watch children when they are in or around water at all times; avoid getting distracted.
-Teach children how to swim.
-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.
“Parents and guardians can also prepare for potential emergencies by taking a CPR training class and learning basic water rescue skills,” said Dr. Kanter.
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