Every year a thousand children drown in this country, most between May and August.
Morag MacKay is Safe Kids Worldwide Director of Research and lead study author of the new report “Hidden Hazards: An Exploration of Open Water Drowning and Risks for Children.”
She said people are surprised to find that most drownings do not occur in swimming pools.
“We found that 43 percent of them occurred in open water,” MacKay explained, “and we define that as both natural occurring water like lakes, rivers and oceans as well as some of the man-made water sources like reservoirs, retention ponds, that sort of thing.”
She said it is important to talk to children about the issue of depths and distances.
“When kids are swimming in the pools you might be quite confident they can swim a width, they can swim a length. But when they get into open water that distance issue can really change and quite quickly children can swim out and then get out of their depth, then turn around and face the shore and suddenly realize they’re not sure they can make it back.”
She said murky conditions plus currents and tides can also be dangerous in open waters.
More information is available at safekids.org.