Safe Kids North Carolina, a statewide program, led by the North Carolina Department of Insurance Office of State Fire Marshal, is reminding parents and caregivers about important safety tips in an effort to reduce child drownings, near-drownings and entrapments in swimming pools, spas and other bodies of water.
“With the approach of summer break and vacation season, many North Carolina families will be enjoying the water at the pool, lake or beach,” said Insurance Commissioner Mike Causey, chair of Safe Kids North Carolina. “It is important for parents and caregivers to be particularly cautious and take steps to avoid any potential tragedies.”
On average, there are 29 child drownings each year in North Carolina. Drowning is the leading cause of death for children 1-4 years of age nationally, with rates even surpassing those of traffic accident fatalities in recent years.
Safe Kids North Carolina reminds parents and caregivers to take the following precautions:
LOCK – Homeowners should put up a fence that is at least 4-feet high around all sides of a pool or spa with a locking gate that closes and latches by itself. Homeowners should cover and lock pools and spas when they are not using them, and also remove or lock ladders to above-ground pools and spas when not in use.
LOOK – Adults and caregivers must always watch children — whether the children know how to swim or not — when kids are in or near water without being distracted by phone calls, text messages, reading or talking to others. If a child is missing, look in the water first.
LEARN – Children and adults should know how to swim. Adults should learn how to use rescue equipment and correctly choose and use U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jackets. Caregivers should learn adult and infant CPR and teach children to never swim alone or swim near pool or spa drains.
Safe Kids North Carolina reaches out to parents, caregivers and children in 71 counties served by 46 coalitions across the state. For more safety tips and information about Safe Kids North Carolina, visit www.ncsafekids.org.