With Memorial Day weekend now a memory, the summer has unofficially started. America's top emergency doctors are taking the opportunity to remind people about water dangers and offering tips on how to prevent this summer from ending tragically with the drowning or near-drowning of a loved one.
"Drowning is one of the leading causes of death among children ages 1 to 4. It only takes a few seconds and a few inches of water for a child to drown," Dr. Nick Jourlies, president of the American College of Emergency Physicians said in an ACEP-issued statement.
"For every child who dies, more than 10 others are treated in emergency departments for nearly drowning," Jourlies added.
Almost 3,000 people die each year in the U.S. due to drowning and while young children are at highest risk, anyone, at any age and regardless of swimming ability, can become a drowning victim.
The ACEP urges everyone to be proactive to prevent a trip to the emergency department for a near-drowning, or worse. Some things to keep in mind:
* Watch children every second they are near pools, hot tubs, beaches, lakes or any areas involving water.
* Teach children to swim as early as possible, preferably using qualified swimming instructors.
* Never swim alone. Always have someone nearby in case of an emergency.
* Install safety fences with locks around pools and hot tubs.
* Young children should always have life vests or approved personal floatation devices whenever they are near water.
* Don't push or jump on others while in the water.
* Never drink alcohol and swim.
* Never dive into unfamiliar water.
* At the beach, public pool, swimming lake or pond, make sure a certified lifeguard is nearby.
* Avoid cliff edges, stay behind fences and obey warning signs.
* Always swim or surf in designated areas.
The ACEP encourages everyone to learn CPR in case of an emergency. For more information on CPR tips and drowning safety, visit www.emergencycareforyou.org.