DuPage County Health Department partners with Olympian to prevent drownings
According to media reports, five Illinois children, ages 1 to 12, fatally drowned between June 1 and July 17, 2020 in pools or open water. Three of the children were age 5 and younger. In comparison, a total of 11 pool or open water drownings occurred among children 12 years and younger in all of 2019, (Illinois Department of Child and Family Services, 2020).
In May, the Consumer Product Safety Commission reported 18 children each day are treated in hospital emergency departments across the nation for non-fatal drowning submersion injuries.
To encourage adult caregivers to reverse these trends and remain vigilant about water safety, the DuPage County Health Department has partnered with two-time Olympic swimmer Cammile Adams to inspire children and adults to practice simple water safety steps.
Adams, of Houston, Texas, competed in the Summer Games in London (2012) and Rio (2016), is now a swim school owner and operator, and promotes water safety every day.
In a short video, available on the DuPageCountyHD YouTube channel, Adams shares the following simple water safety steps to keep children safer in and near the water.
• Learn to swim and stay away from suction drains.
• Never leave a child unattended near the water and always designate an adult "water watcher" by the pool. Water watchers should avoid distractions including texting and reading and stay focused on swimmers.
• Caregivers should use layers of protection including fencing, motion alarms, door alarms and self-latching gates to prevent unsupervised access to the water.
In 2018, the DuPage County Health Department was awarded a Pool Safely grant from the Consumer Product Safety Commission. Through the Pool Safely Northern Illinois program, the DuPage County Health Department aims to prevent child drowning in Illinois through increased education, awareness and professional training.