New report says more children are drowning in pools

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. -- With the summer season kicking off, many people are planning on flocking to pools to beat the heat. But a new report from the Consumer Product Safety Commission says pools are becoming a bigger danger to children.

According to the report, an average of 363 kids younger than 15 died from drowning each year from 2014 through 2016. The report also outlines an average of 6,600 emergency room visits from pool or spa-related injuries per year from 2016 to 2018. In both cases most of the victims were under the age of 5.

At the Goldfish Swim School in Carmel, instructors say the key to reducing drowning risk is kids receiving swim lessons at an early age.

“We start kids at 4 months. And what we hope at 4 months that they’re learning is being able to float on their backs, turn around, swim to a wall, hang on a wall,” manager Andrew Joseph said.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends swim lessons for all children over the age of 1.

“Swim lessons are very much needed, it can reduce the risk of drowning by 88 percent,” Joseph said.

On Thursday, country music artist Granger Smith revealed that his 3-year-old son died in a tragic accident. A representative of Smith’s confirmed that the boy drowned at the family's home.

The American Academy of Pediatrics says drowning is the single leading cause of injury-related death among children ages 1 to 4. Experts warn that it’s something that can happen to any family.

Indianapolis Fire Department Special Operations Chief Kevin Jones says it’s important to stay vigilant when children are near any body of water. He also recommends adults become familiar with the “signs” of drowning, which are different from the way they’re often portrayed.

“It doesn’t always look obvious to everybody; it can be silent. Someone struggling in the water, they look uncomfortable. And if it looks abnormal to you, reach out and find out what’s going on.” Jones said.

The Red Cross has outlined these tips for swimming pool safety:

  1. Secure your pool with appropriate barriers.
  1. Designate a water watcher…and stay in arm’s reach of young children.
  1. Install anti-entrapment drain covers and safety release systems to protect against drain entrapment.
  1. If a child is missing, check the water first.
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