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Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Be safe around water this weekend and all summer


DuPage County Report

With Memorial Day on the horizon and the outdoor swimming season kicking off, the DuPage County Health Department (DCHD) urges residents to stay safe near water.

The DCHD’s Protect Swimmers 10M (PS10M) initiative is dedicated to preventing child drowning and suction drain entrapment through public education and enforcement strategies.

Drowning can happen in seconds and is often silent. It can happen to anyone at any time, including when children gain unsupervised access to pools, even if they are not expected to be near water.

Drownings are on the rise both nationally and statewide, highlighting the alarming trend that only 55% of U.S. adults have had swimming lessons. This underscores the importance of swim lessons at a young age. The Illinois Department of Child and Family Health Services (DCFS) reported that 20 children tragically lost their lives to accidental drowning in 2023, up from 15 such incidents in 2022.

Drowning continues to be a leading cause of unintentional death for children ages 1-14. Children under the age of five are more likely to drown in backyard pools, while children over the age of six are more likely to drown in open water. Last year in Illinois, fatal drownings involving children occurred in backyard pools, retention ponds, rivers, small lakes and Lake Michigan.

While swimming offers family fun, safety should always come first. To ensure everyone’s well-being in and around the water, parents and caregivers can follow Pool Safely’s easy-to-follow guidelines:

1. Supervise Diligently: Never leave a child alone near water. Designate a responsible adult Water Watcher to oversee swimming activities.

2. Teach Swimming Skills: Enroll children in swimming lessons suitable for their age and experience.

3. Check Drain Safety: Verify that all pools and spas/hot tubs you use have drain covers meeting federal safety standards. If unsure, consult the pool owner or facility manager.

4. Prevent Entrapment: Instruct children to stay away from pool drains and pipes. Keep long hair, bathing suit straps, and drawstrings away from drains.

5. Install Safety Measures: Set up proper barriers, covers, and alarms around your pool area.

6. Learn CPR: Acquire knowledge of CPR techniques for both children and adults.

Before the holiday weekend, create a water safety plan and take the Pool Safely Pledge to safeguard children in your family and community. Together, we can work towards preventing child drownings throughout the year.

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PN Ombudsman
An ombudsman is Scandinavian in origin dating back to Viking times; and refers to a community representative; usually acting independently on behalf of an organization, body of elected officials, or civic group. Thanks Scandinavia for inventing ombudsman.