String Of Drownings Prompts State To Issue Water Safety Reminder

Jul 17, 2014


Illinois officials want parents to be more vigilant when young children are playing near the water. The reminder follows a string of drownings in recent weeks.

Between late spring and early summer, Illinois recorded 10 accidental drownings involving children. Jennifer Florent of the Department of Children Family Services says that number really stood out.

"There are years where we have seen a total of 17 drownings for the entire year. So to have 10 just in May, June, and the first part of July is troubling," Florent said.

Florent says in their investigations of these drownings, they found most of them could have been avoided had there been an appropriate level of supervision.

In response to the recent deaths, the department spearheaded a campaign to remind parents about the importance of keeping a watchful eye on their kids when they are in a pool or playing near a lake.

Florent says parents, especially those who have infants or toddlers, should practice "reach" supervision - meaning your child should always be within an arm's reach. She also says it helps to know CPR in the event of an accident.

Experts say don't forget to make sure your child knows how to swim and that they're using any necessary floatation devices. Florent says while those reminders are important, they are not a substitute for adequate supervision.

As part of its campaign, the department is directing families to its water safety coloring book.