Local News

Task Force Tries To Help Prevent Drowning Deaths

Posted June 12, 2001 3:32 a.m. EDT

— State researchers and the

North Carolina Child Advocacy Institute

have issued a new report that says drowning deaths are on the rise in North Carolina, and most of these deaths are predictable and preventable.

The report is the result of a study of 189 unintentional drowning deaths of children from 1996 through 2000. For more findings,

click here


Researchers found drowning was the second leading cause of accidental deaths in children during this period, and some places were more dangerous than others.

"In 1999, 25 percent of the drownings which occurred in pools were in above ground pools. One year later, the number escalated to 80 percent," says public health specialist Katherine Sanford.

The pool itself is not dangerous. It is the missing accessories that can cause a problem, like equipment required at public pools: life preservers, tow ropes or poles, pool alarms and lifeguards.

Here are some safety tips from the Child Fatality Task Force:

  • Never leave children alone in or near a body of water; designate an adult to constantly watch them.
  • Make sure every designated adult supervisor knows how to swim, knows the principles of water safety, and knows CPR.
  • Teach all children water safety and how to swim, but never let a child's swimming ability be the sole source of protection.
  • Use a Coast Guard-approved personal flotation device on children when they are in a boat, regardless of their ability to swim or the distance from shore.
  • Install a secure fence around residential pools.
  • State lawmakers hope

    House bill 1065

    will help. It would require homeowners and renters with swimming pools or hot tubs to build a fence around the yard. Currently, only three counties have this kind of requirement.

    The Swimming Pool Safety Act is now in committee for consideration.