Children swim at the Pat O'Niell Memorial Pool in Lawrenceburg.
(Indianapolis, Ind.) – Nearly a dozen Hoosier children who drowned in Indiana's lakes and pools last year were often without adult supervision.
The Indiana Department of Child Services and the Department of Natural Resources remind parents and guardians to make sure they keep a close eye on children playing in or near water this summer. Accidental drowning is the second largest cause of death among children ages 14 and younger, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
In 11 youth drownings in state fiscal year 2011, most of the cases involved adults not paying attention. The DNR reports three children have been among 27 drownings statewide so far this calendar year.
“Children generally don’t have an awareness of the risks around water. It’s up to the adults who care for them to help keep them safe,” said Mary Beth Bonaventura, Director of the Indiana Department of Child Services.
DNR Director Cameron Clark encourages parents to put their children in a proper fitting life-jacket when visiting a lake or river.
Parents should also be aware of how to recognize a drowning person. Although television and movies often exhibit drowning as a person calling for help and waving their arms, real-life scenarios are quite different.
The DNR says:
·Drowning people are physiologically unable to call out for help. The respiratory system is designed for breathing and breathing must be fulfilled before speech occurs. The mouths of drowning people are not above the surface of the water long enough for them to exhale, inhale, and call out for help.
·Drowning people cannot wave for help. Nature instinctively forces them to extend their arms laterally and press down on the water’s surface which leverages their bodies so they can lift their mouths out of the water to breathe. They cannot perform voluntary movements such as moving toward a rescuer or reaching out for a piece of rescue equipment.
·From beginning to end of the instinctive drowning response, people’s bodies remain upright in the water, with no evidence of a supporting kick. Unless rescued, these drowning people can only struggle on the surface of the water from 20 to 60 seconds before submersion occurs.