PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — As the weather heats up, community pools across Central Illinois are starting to open up for the warmer seasons.
But as parents prepare to bring their kids to the pools, lifeguards and medical officials are advising awareness before letting them take a dip.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, drowning kills 4,000 people in the United States each year. The CDC reports drowning is also the leading cause of death for children ages 1-4-years-old.
Leaders with Advanced Medical Transport said they responded to nine 911 calls for drownings in 2022.
They said parents need to be fully conscious of their kids when they’re near water.
“You want adult supervision, ideally you want people to wear flotation devices even in a pool especially children,” Josh Bradshaw, Community Resource Manager for AMT, said. “You want to avoid alcohol and other kinds of substances that could lead to people being distracted.”
Bradshaw also said drownings can happen in seconds and are usually silent.
“If you are in the water and you discover that you are in trouble, you want to splash, you want to make as much noise as you can to get somebody’s attention,” Bradshaw said. “If you find someone who has experienced a drowning episode, you of course want to call 911 immediately.
He said it’s important to administer CPR to someone in a drowning situation as well.
Sue Wheeler, Aquatics Supervisor with the Peoria Park District, said brushing up on swim lessons is always a good idea. She said if a child hasn’t swam since last year, their skills may not be what they once were.
“Parents should be arms length away from kids and children that are five and under at all times,” Wheeler said. “Make sure that you’re easing into the water [and] you’re not just jumping off of the diving board.”