American Academy of Pediatrics warns drowning risk may go up this summer

pool safety
Posted at 6:11 PM, May 26, 2020

NORFOLK, Va. - Drowning is the leading cause of death among children ages one to four, and the American Academy of Pediatrics is worried the risk may go up even more this summer.

With a lot of parents working from home, they say parents may be more distracted.

"A lot of us are working from home, taking care of kids, maybe homeschooling older children, have a toddler at home, you know, cooking. It's just, it's a different time, and we may not have all the support systems in place," said Dr. Natasha Sriraman, a pediatrician with Children's Hospital of the King's Daughters.

That’s why the AAP says it’s important to have several layers of protection around water including things like:

  • Assign an adult ‘water watcher' who is not doing anything other than watching the kids.
  • Empty bathtubs, buckets and wading pools as soon as you're finished using them.
  • Put up a fence around pools with a self-closing and self-latching gate. Research has shown this can reduce the risk of drowning by 50 percent.
  • Learn CPR.

Dr. Sriraman says accidents can happen in a split second and not just around pools.

Related: Coast Guard app could help you stay safe on the water this summer

"A child can drown in about one to two inches of water. So obviously, you think about the pool, or the bay, or the ocean, but it's so much more than that," said Dr. Sriraman, "The inflatable pools, even if there's a little bit of water left, we always recommend after kids are done playing you empty or just kind of tip it over."

Dr. Sriraman says knowing CPR can also make all the difference when seconds count, but it has changed over the years.

"It's really not even just about mouth to mouth. It's actually, you know, the rhythm of pushing on the chest and things like that," said Dr. Sriraman.

Although you may have a hard time finding a class right now because of the pandemic, there are some online courses available including through the American Red Cross.