As summer approaches, the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services is reminding parents and caregivers to supervise children when they are near water. Dave Clarkin, DCFS spokesman, says drowning is the leading cause of unintentional deaths for children ages 1 through 4 in the U.S., claiming the lives of 21 Illinois children last year.
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Clarkin says because of inadequate supervision, childhood drowning was the third-leading cause of all child deaths indicated by DCFS last year. Of the 21 Illinois children drowned in 2012, 10 incidents happened in pools, six in lakes, two in ponds, two in rivers and one in a bathtub. A baby or toddler can drown in one inch of water in as little as 20 seconds, and children are at risk anywhere water collects, such as bathtubs, toilets, baby pools, decorative garden ponds, ditches, streams and septic tanks.
Five-gallon buckets, commonly used in home improvement projects, pose a special risk for toddlers. Toddlers have undeveloped upper body muscles and can topple over headfirst into a bucket, drowning in as little as one inch of water. The “Get Water Wise…Supervise!” campaign aims to educate adults about proper supervision of children around water.