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It’s a sobering reminder: About one in five people who die from drowning are 14 and younger. Keep everybody safe in and around the water with these tips from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP):
• Keep a close eye on the kids. This seems obvious, but your phone can be a real distraction.
• Make sure everyone (you, too!) wears life jackets while on a boat. Half of all boating deaths can be prevented with the use of life jackets. Inflatable tubes and toys don’t count.
• Teach kids to swim. Swimming is an essential life skill for all kids.
• Learn CPR. Seconds count when you’re waiting for help to arrive.
• If your child stops breathing, inhales water or loses consciousness, she should get a complete medical exam, even if she seems fine. The AAP says she should remain under medical observation for at least 24 hours.
• Be wary, but not paranoid. Some kids can experience complications from swimming, but that doesn’t mean they’ve experienced “dry drowning,” which isn’t even a real medical term. An otherwise healthy kid doesn’t suddenly die from drowning after swimming a few days earlier. Stories you may have heard only occurred due to underlying issues such as a heart condition, says the ACEP. The bottom line: If your child has breathing difficulties at any time—whether water was involved or not—go to the ER.