Stories about: drowning

Top tips for water safety and drowning prevention

Water safety in children.As summer approaches, families head outdoors for fun ways to beat the heat. One of the most cherished summertime activities is swimming — whether in a pool, lake or beach.

But each summer, it’s important to remind ourselves of the sobering statistic that drowning ranks fifth among the leading causes of unintentional injury death in the U.S. according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Here are a few tips to keeping your family safe in the water this summer.

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Learn CPR. Save lives.

Last week, an 11-month-old baby in our community accidentally fell into the bathtub.

The family called 9-1-1 and while they waited for an ambulance, nearby workers from local power company Eversource stopped to help. The baby was not breathing, and her lips were turning blue.

The Eversource workers administered CPR, and the baby started breathing. She recovered at Boston Children’s Hospital and ultimately survived because of the efforts of CPR-trained passersby.

Dr. Claire McCarthy, Boston Children’s general pediatrician, offers tips on preventing drowning.

Accidents can happen at any time and place. We never know when we will need the help of a stranger. Or when we will be put in a position to help. Please consider taking a lifesaving CPR class.

Find out more about the Boston Children’s Hospital Basic Life Support program.

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Dangers of kiddie and inflatable pools

Tuesday marked the first day of summer. It means fun in the sand and surf, but with it often comes tragic stories about children drowning. But it’s not just in ground swimming pools and rip tides that are dangerous to young swimmers. Kiddie or inflatable pools, even with their limited amounts of water, are responsible for many of the season’s water related injuries. These pools are often bright colors and adorned with recognizable cartoon characters to attract young children, but their walls and supports are flimsy. With even a small amount of pressure they’ll bend or push downward. A child who runs up to a SpongeBob Square Pants pool and pushes on a picture of their favorite undersea friend can quickly have gallons of water dumped into his face and mouth. In some cases even a small amount can be deadly.

According to a new study, published in Pediatrics, there were 209 fatal drowning reported from 2001 through 2009 caused by portable, above ground pools. Most cases involved children younger than 5 years. When averaged together, this adds up to one toddler drowning death every five days during the summer months because of poorly supervised kiddie pools.

Not surprisingly, many of these deaths happened when the children were unattended, or when miscommunication between caregivers led to everyone assuming someone else was watching the children. Even when that confusion lasts only a matter of minutes, it can have deadly consequences. The same amount of time it takes to answer a phone call or check an email can be long enough for a child to drown.

Even if a child is taller than the standing water, drowning is still a very serious threat

In light of this information here’s a few safety tips to keep your child safe around water this summer.

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Great weekend for swimming, do you know pediatric CPR?

If your child's a swimmer it's recommended you take an CPR class from a licensed professional

Even though it’s only been warm for a few weeks, Children’s Hospital Boston’s Emergency Department (ED) has already treated several young patients for near drowning, and, sadly, there have already been many drownings nationwide, including the 2 year-old son of former NFL quarterback Randall Cunningham, who drown in the family’s backyard hot tub. In an effort to reduce drownings and near-drownings, Thrive asked Josh Farber-Sault, RN, a nurse in our ED, to show parents how to perform pediatric CPR in an emergency.

While it’s good for parents to watch and learn from Josh’s video, it’s important to note that viewing it doesn’t constitute formal CPR training. Any parent or caregiver who plans on having their child around water this summer is strongly recommended to take an official CPR training course.

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