Consumer agency: Drownings are 'silent killer' for children under 5

Consumer agency: Drownings are 'silent killer' for children under 5

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - This weekend marks the start of pool season across the country.

The U.S Consumer Product Safety Commission and Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz are reminding everyone those pools can be deadly, particularly for young kids.

About 380 children younger than 15 drown in pools or spas each year. Officials say keeping that figure from climbing is mostly up to parents.

The CPSC says new data shows drownings lead the way as the cause of unintentional deaths for children under 5-years-old.

A majority of them happened in residential in-ground pools.

The agency estimates 5,400 children had to be treated after nearly drowning in pools or spas between 2012 and 2014.

Commission Chairman Elliot Kaye said it doesn't take long for a silent and deadly accident to happen.

"A child age one through five, a parent needs to turn their attention away for what they believe is a moment and they turn back and the child has disappeared and they go outside and they look for the child and they find them submerged and it's too late," Kaye said. "And it's not like the movies, it's not where you see somebody splashing and screaming for help to get your attention. Drowning is a silent killer, they go under and it's over, and we just don't want that to happen again, this is 100 percent preventable."

Officials say there are simple steps parents can take to help keep their children safe:

  • Never leave a child unattended in a pool.
  • Teach them to swim at an early age and parents, if you don't know -- learn to swim as well.
  • Learn how to perform CPR to prepare for the worst case scenario.
  • Keep children clear of pool drains, pipes, and other openings to avoid entrapment.
  • Don't rely on a lifeguard. Designate your own water watcher to supervise children at play in the pool. That person should not be reading, texting, or otherwise distracted.

Copyright 2015 WCSC. All rights reserved.