By: Paige Britt, Follow South Jersey Intern
SOUTH JERSEY – Every year nearly 4,000 people die from drowning in the U.S., and it is the leading cause of death for children from the ages of 1 to 4.
Last year, around 28 people drowned in natural waters in New Jersey according to preliminary data from the Department of Health.
With summer in full swing, it is crucial that families and children know the importance of water safety.
The Department of Children and Families advises following a list of guidelines in order to keep kids safe when around water. DCF suggests never leaving children unattended in the water, as drowning can occur in only an inch or two. It is also important to stay within an arm’s length of children, teach children to never swim without a lifeguard around, teach children to swim at a young age, and ensure they know the difference between being in a swimming pool and open water such as the ocean.
DCF also lists the signs of drowning on their website which include someone’s head being low in the water, their mouth at the level of the water, head tilted back with mouth open, not using their legs in the water, trying to roll over on their back, and doing ladder-climbing movements.
Organizations such as Njswim Schools and Stop Drowning Now are trying to implement water safety into NJ curricula. The board members of Stop Drowning Now, a national non-profit organization, have created an on-line curriculum for educators to use in NJ classrooms. Both organizations are encouraging NJ State Assembly Members to vote teaching water safety into law.
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