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American Academy of Pediatrics warning parents of accidental drownings

Accidental drownings are the leading cause of death among children ages one to four.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The American Academy of Pediatrics is warning parents of accidental drownings.

About 70% of drownings for young children happen when it’s not swimming time, and as more families find themselves at home this summer because of coronavirus, pediatricians said there could be an increased risk of accidents.

Accidental drownings are the leading cause of death among children ages one to four.

“They’re curiosity machines,” Dr. Ben Hoffman with the American Academy of Pediatrics said. “They’re built to explore, and water is fascinating.”

As children are at home more because of social isolation recommendations, they may have more access to pools.

“We can’t drown-proof our kids,” Dr. Hoffman said.

We can add layers of protection and the more layers the better. 

The AAP said fences and door locks, constant adult supervision, CPR training for caregivers and swim lessons are all ways to help prevent accidental drownings.

Two years ago former Olympic skier Bode Miller and his wife lost their 19-month-old daughter in a drowning accident. 

At that time the recommendation was to begin swim lessons at age four, but now it’s much earlier.

 “We know that swim lessons between the ages of 1 and 4 can make a huge difference,” Dr. Hoffman said. “Starting at age one, if parents feel like their kids are ready, they should really consider doing it.”

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