PNS Daily Newscast - February 22, 2019 

North Carolina will hold a new election to fill the final disputed seat in the U.S. House. Also on our Friday rundown: Baltimore sues Monsanto and others for polluting city waterways. Plus, a public lands program moves towards permanent status.

Daily Newscasts

Hidden Dangers of Swimming in Open Water

Near drownings send 7,000 children to emergency rooms each year.  (Pixabay)
Near drownings send 7,000 children to emergency rooms each year. (Pixabay)
May 24, 2018

COLUMBUS, Ohio — As the warmer weather sets in and folks in Ohio look for ways to cool off, a new report highlights the dangers of swimming in open water.

The research released Tuesday by the group Safe Kids Worldwide revealed that about 1,000 children die in drowning accidents each year in the U.S., and most incidents involve a lake, river, pond, quarry or other natural water source. Mary Shaffer, recreation programs administrator with the Ohio Department of Health, explained there are hidden dangers in open water, including rocks and sudden drop-offs.

"There could be a current,” Shaffer said. “The water usually isn't as clear and so people may not see, not just a person but anything that could be under the surface that could entangle somebody such as logs or debris that might be under the water surface."

The cool temperature of open water can also deminish a child's ability to swim. The report also showed more than eight in ten children who drown in open water are male, and half of open-water drownings involve young people ages 15-19.

Medical adviser with Safe Kids Worldwide Dr. Marceé White said a drowning scare sends an additional 7,000 children to emergency rooms each year. She said that's at least 150 families a week affected by such a frightening event.

"Those are the ones that are presenting to the emergency room. There are still families out there where a child almost drowned and did not present to the emergency room,” White said; “so, there's a large number of individuals out there that aren't even accounted for."

To ensure safety, the report suggests parents always keep a close eye on children when they are in the water, or designate a "water watcher" for larger groups of children. White had some additional recommendations:

"When kids are around open water, they should have a U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket on,” she said. “I also would encourage parents to learn water rescue skills and CPR, because those skills can be life saving in the event of a drowning."

White added people should always swim with a partner, and only in designated swimming areas.

Mary Kuhlman, Public News Service - OH