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UPDATED 2:06 p.m.

The drowning death of former NFL quarterback Randall Cunningham's 2-year-old son is a sad reminder of how dangerous water can be for children.

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In fact, the drowning fatality rate for boys ages 1 to 2 is high: 4 or 5 per 100,000, according to Sue Baker, a professor in the Center for Injury Research and Policy at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. For girls in that age group, the fatality rate is cut in half, Baker says.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recently revised its previous recommendation against swimming lessons for children under 4, saying parents should decide whether to enroll their children in classes. The group recommends swimming lessons for children 4 years old and older.

Baker says parents also should keep these tips in mind if you have small children.

Here are some additional tips for lake and beach safety in time for July 4th weekend, thanks to Infant Swimming Resource:

Dress your child in bright colors when going to the lake or the beach. Use a consistent color and style of swim suit so all family members know what the child is wearing.

Carry a picture of your child in the consistent outfit to show a lifeguard or others.

Have a hook, rope and throw ring attached to the dock so that they can be used at a moment's notice.

Have the child wear a life jacket in a boat or around the water when there is the potential for an accidental submersion. But, life jackets are not a substitute for the ability to swim or for adult supervision.

Flotation devices can provide a false sense of security for parents and children. These items can easily deflate or fall off your child's arm.


 

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