Swim Safety Experts Speak Out After Small Boy Drowns

By KBJR News 1

July 27, 2012 Updated Jul 27, 2012 at 11:48 PM CDT

Duluth, MN (Northland's NewsCenter) --- Tragedy struck a family in Duluth yesterday after their 1-year-old son drowned in an inflatable pool.

Now swimming experts are speaking out and urging parents to take swimming safety precautions, to prevent tragic accidents like this from happening.

Sean Bradley has five kids who love to swim.

"I would say everyday they would play in the pool if we let them," Bradley said.

Drowning is the leading cause of death for children under five years of age and nearly 400 children under the age of 14 die each year, according to the Center's for Disease Control.

Swimming safety experts say drownings usually happen when a child is left unattended or during a brief lapse of supervision.

Typically small children drown in bath tubs, buckets of water and kiddy pools, and it doesn't take much, a child can drown in as little as one inch of water.

"Toddlers and young children are very curious, they are just drawn to water, they want to investigate, they want to play, they want to splash," Jenn Hoff, Accident Prevention Coordinator at Essentia Health said.

To prevent drownings or near drownings, experts say; always stay within an arms reach of a child.

Never leave toilet lids open and always bathtubs and kiddy pools and immediately after use.

"The kids know when we are done we drain the pool and that's the end of it, until tomorrow," Bradley said. "We stack it up on the side of the yard and it comes back out the next time we want to play in the pool. It can't fill with rain water, and it's safe."

Experts urge people to remember that drowning accidents happen very fast and are often very quiet.

Every swimmer should use a buddy system especially in large bodies of water or in high rivers and streams.

"They are just so incredibly powerful, they move boulders," Jesse Schomberg, Coastal Communities and Land Use Leader of the Minnesota Sea Grant College Program said. "We saw them move bridges and cars and other things recently. You know, they can just easily take a body down the stream and that can lead to some tragic outcomes as well."

Experts encourage swimmers to be aware of current weather and rip current conditions and pair them with your own swimming capabilities.

"We, as parents again, need to teach them how powerful open water can be, if there swimming is not up to par, they get into a lake that is cold, they get zapped of their energy and they may not be able to get out of the water," Hoff said.

If a child does go missing, experts urge people to check the water first, before it's too late.

Jennifer Walch
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