Louisiana Ranks High for Deaths by Drowning—What Can You Do to Change This?
Summer is here and the weather is getting warmer in South Louisiana and that can only mean one thing… we will be swimming and getting into the water a lot more in the next coming weeks.
While spending time at the pool sounds wonderful it can be a very dangerous thing when it comes to children and safety.
Since May is national water safety month the Louisiana Department of Health has issued a warning to parents and families to stay aware of the many precautions they can take to prevent child drownings.
Did you know that drowning was the third leading cause of injury-related death in children ages 0-14 in Louisiana from 2018 to 2019? As a mother, I wish I could say that this statistic isn’t true but it is.
According to LDH data, the number of child drownings in Louisiana was decreasing however 2020 was one of the deadliest years in Louisiana when it came to drownings.
Louisiana experienced a 60% increase in the number of infant and child drownings (ages 0-14), from 15 in 2019 to 24 in 2020. According to preliminary LDH data, in 2021, 25 infants and children in Louisiana drowned.
“Tragically, the number of children in Louisiana we have lost to drowning continues to increase," said State Health Officer Dr. Joseph Kanter. "I urge everyone to follow a few simple, but critical steps to keep you and your children safe around the water we all love to enjoy.”
LDH published a list of several precautions families can take to prevent drownings:
- Watch children when they are in or around water at all times; avoid getting distracted.
- Teach children how to swim and water survival skills.
- Take CPR classes.
- 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.
- Swim in designated swimming areas and use extreme caution around natural bodies of water that may have unpredictable currents and undertow.
One local Acadiana family is also doing everything can to advocate for water safety so that families don’t have to endure the pain that they are going through.
If you don’t know the story about Mazie then I would suggest grabbing a tissue and taking a peek at their website. While it is a very sad and emotional story about losing a child to a water accident it also provides awareness of this subject.
Mazie’s Mission is also offering parents some tips for water safety:
- Enroll your child in quality swim lessons that lead to water competence. All swim lessons are not created equal. Progress should happen in weeks and months, not in years. Lessons should provide your child with the skills to survive if they were to fall into the pool. The American Academy of Pediatrics now recommends swim lessons can begin at age 1. These lessons should focus on self-rescue and teach your child how roll-to-float or how to get to the side of the pool.
- Utilize pool and door alarms.
- Don’t let your child rely on puddle jumpers or flotation devices when in the pool. These create a false sense of security. However, ALWAYS wear life jackets when on natural water (lakes, rivers, oceans). Natural water is dark, deep, and has currents. It is not the same as a pool.
- Children can drown in 2 inches of water and in 30 seconds. Be aware of buckets, toilets, irrigation ditches, ponds, baby pools, and bathtubs.
- Last but not least, NEVER leave a child unattended in or near water. Designate a Water Guardian anytime there is access to water, even if the children are not swimming.
For more information on how to prevent drownings or more tips for water safety you can visit these sites below: