Ten children have drowned in the metro since June 14, according to data collected by doctors at the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago.
Dr. Elizabeth Powell urged parents to actively supervise their children when swimming and take other common-sense steps to prevent another drowning.
Young children and teens are especially at risk of accidents in the water, said Powell, an emergency department physician at Lurie.
At a Tuesday news conference, Powell pointed to a tiny blue wading pool smaller than most sandboxes and with only a few inches of water in it.
At first blush, she said, it's hard to see the little pool as a drowning threat. But if a toddler slips and falls down face first, she said, the child can die within seconds.
While teens and adults are at less risk in tiny backyard pools, they can be in danger in large bodies of water like Lake Michigan. In Lake County, Ill., there have already been four drownings this year, compared to six in all of 2011.
Lurie doctors and the Lake County Health Department suggest these steps to stay safe while swimming:
- Use life jackets.
- Parents should stay within arm’s distance of young kids.
- Put up fences around neighborhood pools so children can’t wander in unattended.
- Don’t drink alcohol while supervising children.
- Learn to swim and respect your limitations in the water.