Drowning is leading cause of unintentional death of kids age 1 to 4 and the pandemic didn't help

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Monday, July 5, 2021
Child drownings are on the rise
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For children ages five and under, 83 percent of drownings were at residential pools.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission is reporting that child drownings are on the rise.

The agency warns that the pandemic has meant kids are at increased risk this year.

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"It was really hard for people to access swimming lessons last year. And from what I understand this year, it still remains challenging because things have booked up pretty early," said Dr. Ben Hoffman, Chair of the American Academy of Pediatrics Council on Injury, Violence and Poison Prevention.

Drowning is the leading cause of unintentional death of children ages one to four.

Johns Hopkins All Children's Hospital in Florida is reporting the cases of child drownings continue to increase.

"Year over year, we've almost doubled our drownings, unfortunately," said Dr. Patrick Mularoni.

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For children ages five and under, 83 percent of drownings were at residential pools.

Last year, Emily Friske was isolating with her family in Valley Center, California and thought her daughter Addie was with her husband, Jordan, who was working from home.

She discovered Addie had actually wandered to the family pool.

"She was on her side, not breathing," Friske said. "It's every parent's worst nightmare."

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Addie was without a pulse for more than 20 minutes. Emily, a former EMT, performed CPR with her husband until an ambulance arrived.

"I thought, 'this can't be happening to us,'" Friske said.

Doctors feared Addie would have brain damage but she was awake within 24 hours. Her pediatrician called her recovery miraculous.

And doctors said the CPR made all the difference.

Now the family is hoping to raise awareness about pool safety.

"Please learn CPR," Friske said.

Experts warn it's important to have multiple layers of protection.

"Make sure that you designate someone to keep an eye on the children in and around the water each and every time," said Nychelle Fleming with the CPSC.

And make sure there are proper barriers, covers and alarms on and around any pool or spa your child may have access to.

"As pools start to open up, I think it's very important for parents to sign their children up for swim classes and get those kids learning how to swim," Mularoni said.