Drowning toll in U.S.: 2 children per day

July 28, 2012 at 12:58 AM
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DANVILLE, Pa., July 28 (UPI) -- Sun and swimming make summer fun, but they are also the cause of countless childhood emergency room visits, a Pennsylvania physician says.

Dr. Frank Maffei -- medical director of the pediatric intensive care unit at Geisinger's Janet Weis Children's Hospital in Danville, Pa. -- said after birth defects, drowning is the leading cause of death in toddlers.

"Summer is a lot of fun for young children, however it is extremely important that parents and guardians are mindful to keep them safe by following precautions," Maffei said in a statement. "We see an increase in patients with injuries over the summer months and that can be avoided by maintaining personal safety standards, such as simply supervising the child while playing and frequently applying sunscreen."

Ten people, two of whom are children age 14 and under, die from drowning every day in the United States, Maffei said.

"Learning survival swimming skills, which include the ability to float, tread water and right oneself if he or she falls into a pool or body of water as well as formal swimming lessons can reduce the risk of drowning," Maffei said. "Close supervision of children around all bodies of water and the proper use of personal flotation devices can prevent the majority of accidental drownings."

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration suggests applying an SPF 15 or higher sunscreen 30 minutes before sun exposure and reapplying often throughout the day, Maffei said.

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