As families gather for the Fourth of July holiday, health officials are warning the public of a surge of child drownings.

So far this year, seven children have drowned in Riverside County — the same number of children who drowned all of last year, said Jose Arballo Jr., spokesman for the Riverside University Health System.

Twenty other children have nearly drowned this year, Arballo said. Last year, 94 children nearly drowned. Near-drownings can cause long-lasting brain damage.

Drowning is the leading cause of unintentional death in children ages 1 to 4 in Riverside County, health officials say, adding that a child can drown in less than 1 inch of water.

Authorities share these tips to prevent drownings:

— Supervise your children near pools, bathtubs, buckets or any standing water;

— Place safety latches on toilet lids to prevent toddlers from falling in;

— Empty wading pools when not in use;

— Inflatable water wings are not water-safety devices and should not be used for that purpose. The best safety option is a life vest with a tag or stamp that reads “Coast Guard approved.”;

— Learn CPR and first aid;

— Keep a portable telephone and emergency phone number nearby.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.