State health department: child drownings up 60% in Louisiana

Louisiana

Crittenden County authorities say a 6-year-old boy drowned in a lake at the Lake Shore mobile home park on Sunday.

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — The number of babies and children who drowned last year in Louisiana was up 60% from 2019, and the state has one of the nation’s highest rates of such drownings, the Louisiana Department of Health said Tuesday.

“Water safety and drowning prevention efforts remain as important as ever, especially as families return to water activities at pools, lakes and beaches,” said Dr. Joseph Kanter, the state health officer.

Twenty-four children less than 15 years old drowned last year, up from 15 in 2019, after five straight years of decreasing totals, the department said in a news release.

It said data for 2017 through 2019 from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that Louisiana has the nation’s fourth highest drowning rate for children 1-14 years old. Drowning remains the third leading cause of death for Louisiana children in this age group, the statement said.

“Louisiana’s latest numbers confirm that most child drownings occur in the warmer months and among children ages 1-4,” Kanter said. “This year, I urge everyone to take critical steps to reverse the upward trend in fatal child drownings.”

The department said precautions that can prevent drownings include watching children every moment they’re in or around water and teaching them to swim. Others include fencing in any pool or spa and including a self-closing, self-latching gate; and wearing a Coast Guard-approved life jacket during boating and other water activities.

“Parents and guardians can also prepare for potential emergencies by taking a CPR training class and learning basic water rescue skills,” Kanter said.

More information is available at PoolSafely.gov.

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