Ascension Sheriff outlines water safety campaign

Staff reports

Nearly 1,000 children die each year due to drowning, and for individuals ages five to 24, drowning is the second leading cause of accidental death.

“These incidents don’t just happen when a child falls into a pool,” Wiley said. “Bathtubs, buckets, toilets and hot tubs present dangers as well.”

The Ascension Parish Sheriff’s office presents some basic safety tips, including: never leaving children alone near water, enrolling children in swimming lessons at three years of age, following safety precautions posted at parks and beaches, not depending on lifeguards to serve as baby-sitters, and using “touch supervision,” which means an adult is never more than an arm’s length from a child.

“Young children are especially vulnerable because a child can drown in less than two inches of water,” Wiley said.

The office also suggests four “key” rules for all children to remember: swimming with a buddy, avoiding diving, not pushing and being prepared for an emergency.

Sheriff Jeff Wiley additionally recommends using approved personal flotation devices, remaining aware of undertow effects, calling for help, treading water, exiting bodies of water in the event of bad weather, learning CPR, maintaining a stocked First Aid kit, and encouraging supervision at all times.

“Seconds count when it comes to water emergencies, so take a cell phone with you when you’re watching kids during water play,” Wiley said. “Programming 911 or your local emergency center will also save additional seconds.”

Basic CPR measures are essential, should a child be found in the water. Clearing air passages, rescue breathing, chest compressions and following emergency operators’ instructions are most important.

If a child is not breathing, placing the child on his/her side in the recovery position is advised. In the case of a neck or back injury, such as those often sustained while diving or playing, a child should be kept still with back and neck supported.

More information about precautionary water safety measures as well as emergency care procedures can be found at www.ncs.org and www.kidshealth.org.

“Everyone can enjoy being in the water more knowing they have taken the proper precautions and are practicing these safety guidelines,” Wiley said.