In Oregon, we are blessed with beautiful rivers, lakes and ocean beaches, as well as sunny summer days that beckon water fun. But fun can quickly turn to tragedy when safety precautions are ignored.

Accidental injury is a leading cause of death for children in the United States – drowning being the most common, especially for teenagers and children ages 1-4.

For every death by drowning, 25 children are hospitalized and 925 are treated in emergency rooms for near-death incidents. Some are forever changed by brain injury due to prolonged lack of oxygen.

Roughly one-third of children who drown in Oregon perish in backyard pools; 80 percent die between May and October.

In my own practice, I’ve cared for children who’ve suffered traumatic water-related injuries.

Prevent tragedy due to drowning by following these steps:

  1. Assign an adult whose only task is to keep a constant eye on children who are swimming, and learn the signs of drowning– it’s not what it looks like on TV.
  2. Fence your pool, and lock your spa lid if these are features of your yard.
  3. Empty buckets – children can easily drown in just a few inches of water.
  4. Always wear life jackets – adults and children – on and near the water; this is especially crucial for young children.
  5. Obey laws regarding alcohol consumption while boating.
  6. Strongly warn your teenage children about responsible diving, life jackets and water safety.
  7. Never leave your child alone in a bathtub, even for a moment.
  8. Learn adult and child CPR.

With the gift of Oregon’s stunning rivers, lakes and ocean comes great responsibility. It’s up to us to keep our kids safe.

Have a great summer!

Dr. B