SEATTLE-- The Pacific Northwest has already seen a record month of June with warm, sunny weather, but unfortunately summer is also a time when children are more likely to drown.
Dr. Wendy Sue Swanson, pediatrician at The Everett Clinic, shared tips on how parents and onlookers can keep kids safer around water this summer.
"Drowning is more common than we want this time of year, it's really big," Swanson said.
She said the most common ages in which children suffer drownings are between one and four, and boys are more likely to drown than girls. Swanson emphasized that it is important to be vigilant in watching children at this age, because it is also common for small children to drown in household bodies of water.
"The other thing to know about young kids is they don't drown typically in open water or big spaces. They also drown right in your home—toilet bowls, buckets of water, kiddie pools, little pools," Swanson said.
If a toddler or infant is found in the water and they are blue or not breathing, Swanson said the first thing to do is give mouth to mouth right away, begin start CPR and call 911.
For older kids and teens who are found struggling in the water, Swanson said often a bystander's basic instinct is incorrect.
It's important to keep your own safety in mind, as circumstances are often more dangerous, Swanson said.
"Our first instinct often is to jump in the water immediately after a child or teen; it can be very dangerous both for the rescuer and for the child or teen that you're trying to save," Swanson said. "Instead of jumping in, what you should first do is throw something in that they can reach. And then if you can you get to them with a stick or a paddle—something they can reach out to and grab on to."
If the child or teen is found unconscious, a parent or bystander should start CPR and call 911.
- Seattle Mama Doc blog post on rescuing infants
- Seattle Mama Doc blog post on rescuing teens
- Infant CPR