Recent Drownings Prompt Another Water Safety Reminder

With another warm weekend ahead, Emergency Room physicians at Lurie Children’s and the Chicago Park District are reminding parents and caregivers the importance of water safety.  Since June 14, 12 people have lost their lives due to drowning this summer, compared to 15 reported drowning’s in Illinois in all of 2011. Since Friday, a 61-year-old man and a 12-year-old girl drowned in Lake Michigan.

“With this hot summer, there are more people in the water,” said Karen Sheehan, MD, MPH, emergency room physician at Lurie Children’s and Medical Director of the Injury Prevention and Research Center. “This may be why we are seeing such an increase in drowning’s in such a short period of time.”

Whether in a lake or in a public pool there are many safety precautions parents and caregivers must take. When swimming, actively watch children. Whether that’s playing with them in the water or watching from a few feet away they should never be alone. It is also critical for adults to know that any child can get into a dangerous situation even if they have a life jacket on or have taken swimming lessons.

“The big thing is always, always watch your children,” said Sheehan. “Even if there is a life guard on duty, having another pair of eyes on your child will help eliminate the threat of drowning.”

Eric Fischer, Aquatics Manager of the Chicago Park District, says the Park District views swimming as a life skill. “We encourage parents and caregivers to enroll their children in the Learn to Swim Program that is offered free of charge at citywide pools year round for youth ages 6-17. Year-round swimming programs with nominal fees are also offered for toddlers, adults and seniors."

“Water activities can be fun for both children and adults,” said Sheehan. “No one should avoid going to the beach or pool but it is crucial that everyone be aware of the risks and be responsible for knowing all water safety rules.”

For more information on water safety tips, visit Lurie Children’s is one of the top pediatric hospitals in the country according to U.S.News & World Report.  Its physicians are on staff at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.

Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, formerly Children’s Memorial Hospital, is a 23-story, state-of-the-art hospital located in downtown Chicago on the campus of its academic partner, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. Lurie Children’s is ranked as one of the nation’s top children’s hospitals in the U.S.News & World Report 2013-14 Honor Roll rankings. Lurie Children’s provides pediatric care in a setting that offers the latest benefits and innovations in medical technology, research and family-friendly design. The hospital relies on philanthropic support to care for more than 149,000 children each year.

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