Number of childhood drownings on the rise

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - New research reveals childhood drownings are up by 14 percent. According to a child safety non-profit, SafeKids, the majority of drownings happen between the months of May and August.

Safekids found 7,000 kids end up in the emergency room every year due to a drowning scare.

Boys are most at risk and account for eight in 10 drowning deaths. African-American children are also twice as likely to drown, according to the study.

Lindsey Saller and Anna Kirkland with Mecklenburg County Aquatics talked to WBTV about those statistics and ways to protect kids before they hit the water.

Saller and Kirkland suggest that parents make sure your child has a coast guard approved floating device (pool noodles and arm floaties are not coast guard approved).

Parents can find the coast guard approved seal on the device. They also suggest designating a water watcher.

"The water watcher is so important in that it literally takes just a moment for a child to drown and so parents ultimately become the first line defense when it comes to preventing drownings and so when we say water watchers, that means that they are focused on the children in the water, not reading a text, not reading a book, not checking Facebook but they're actually watching the kids making sure that an emergency doesn't happen," Saller, who is the Mecklenburg County aquatics supervisor, said.

To combat childhood drownings, Saller said Mecklenburg County is teaming up with aquatic programs across the country to host the World's Largest Swim Lesson on June 21 at the Double Oaks Family Aquatic Facility on Woodward Avenue.

Registration starts at 9 a.m. and lessons start at 10 a.m.

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