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Don't Let Water Activities Lead to Tragedy this Summer

Summary: According to the CDC, approximately 10 people die from unintentional drowning every day.
Air Date: 6/20/14
Duration: 10
Host: Leigh Vinocur, MD
Guest Bio: Howard Mell, MD
Dr. Howard Mell is dual board certified in emergency medicine and EMS. He trained at the University of Illinois and completed his residency in emergency medicine at the Mayo Clinic. Dr. Mell works for EmCare as a regional EMS director and works clinically at Trumbull Memorial Hospital in Warren, Ohio.
Don't Let Water Activities Lead to Tragedy this Summer
Water activities such as swimming, boating or even just hanging out at the pool are a great way to spend lazy summer days.

But it's important to keep safety in mind when performing these activities.

According to the CDC, approximately 10 people die from unintentional drowning every day.

Drownings are often misrepresented by TV and movies. The thrashing about and screaming for help isn't always the case.

In fact in many cases, drownings are incredibly silent.

Who is most at risk for drowning?

Toddlers, who are just beginning to explore their environment, comprise one group that is at risk. At that age, it actually happens quite often where drownings occur in a kiddie wading pool or hot tub. Even if you're paying close attention, toddlers can very easily slip away from you. According to a recent study, even as few as three minutes can result in tragedy.

"Drown-proofing" by having your kids take swimming lessons really doesn't work to prevent drownings, simply because at that age they can't translate what they've learned in a structured swimming class to the actually being in a drowning situation. They lack the psychological stance to translate the swimming skill to survival. This type of "training" is no substitute for keeping kids away from water sources.

Even kids aged six to 10 (or even older) have a hard time making the correct judgement when around water, so it's still important to supervise kids of that age.

As for teens and adults, mixing alcohol and swimming or other water activities is just a bad combination. If you don't have all your faculties about you, it's hard to make the right decision when placed in a drowning situation.

What are some things you can do to make sure you and your kids are safe?

Make sure you empty kiddie/wading pools every night. Any source of water -- even a hot tub -- really needs to be secured. Also, flotation devices should not replace supervision. If you have kids playing around water, you need to keep an eye on them every second.

Dr. Howard Mell joins Dr. Leigh to share more information on drowning dangers, as well as ways to prevent tragedy from striking your family.