ST. LOUIS – As we head into Memorial Day weekend, SSM Health Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital is issuing a warning about the danger of children and swimming.
Memorial Day is the day when many swimming pools open for the season. For kids, playing in or around water is one of the joys of summer. But it comes with risks.
Two children have died while swimming in area rivers this month. A 17-year-old boy from Bourbon, Missouri drowned in the Meramec River in Franklin County. And an 11-year-old boy drowned in the Big River in Jefferson County. He was wearing a safety vest, got stuck on a log, and went under.
“So being in a boat or swimming far away from the shore, you don’t know what the riptides are going to be,” said Lori Winkler, Safe Kids St. Louis program coordinator. “You don’t know what the underneath is and it’s going to be very difficult for the group to see somebody go down.”
Drowning is the leading cause of accidental death for children ages 1-4 and the drowning can happen in less than 60 seconds.
“The most important thing to do is for parents the number one thing is they have to supervise their children at all vicinities,” Winkler said. “If those children are inexperienced and especially are youth, babies, and toddlers, they need to maintain within arm’s length.”
Winkler said adults and children should learn to swim, learn CPR, always wear a life vest, and it’s important designate a water watcher.
“Someone is assigned this water watcher card. They wear this for 15 minutes and now the next person in my group, they’re the ones responsible for direct supervision for those group of children,” she said.
For more information on water safety for children, call SSM Health Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital at 314-678-5474.