Story by: Nate Strothman on June 20, 2020
Kentucky already has had more drownings this year than all of 2019, even while public pools are closed to limit the spread of the coronavirus.
So far this year, there have been 33 drownings in Kentucky’s lakes, reservoirs and streams. Nearly half of them — 14 — have occurred since May 23, the Saturday before Memorial Day. The commonwealth recorded 32 drownings in all of 2019.
With pools now scheduled to open at the end of June, parents and guardians need to keep an eye on their children to ensure they stay safe in the water.
“It’s concerning that we’ve seen a rise in drownings even before many pools are open,” said Brit L. Anderson, M.D., pediatric emergency medicine physician with Norton Children’s Hospital. “While many people are aware of the risks of swimming pools, it’s important to remember that other bodies of water can be dangerous, including ponds, rivers, drainage ditches and even bathtubs or backyard wading pools.”
Children require constant, attentive supervision when they are in water,” Dr. Anderson said. “If there are multiple adults, they need to communicate to make sure someone is watching the water without distraction. Drowning often is silent and can happen quickly.”
In the United States, approximately 800 children drown each year, and it’s the No. 1 cause of accidental death in children ages 1 to 4, according to SafeKids.org. As two-thirds of these drownings occur from May to August, the summer months are especially important to make sure your children are safe in large bodies of water.
According to the National Drowning Prevention Alliance, nearly 90% of child drownings happen when at least one adult is present.