Don’t forget water safety

Rebecca Neipp

News Review Staff Writer

Don’t forget water safety With temperatures creeping up into the 100s in the Indian Wells Valley — and recreational options at an all-time low (see related story: news-ridgecrest.com/news/story.pl?id=0000011489) — officials from the Kern County Public Health Department issued a reminder for families to ensure they take steps to keep children safe during swimming and pool-related activities.

Just before Memorial Day Weekend, Kern County Sheriff officials noted that the number of lives claimed by the Kern River since 1968 now stands at 307 — an increase of 9 since last year.

“The river is unpredictable,” Sgt. Zack Bittle reported after changing the harrowing statistics on the sign posted along Highway 178.

“While water can be great fun for kids, it can also pose serious dangers,” said Michelle Corson, spokesperson of KCPH.

Since 2014, 32 children from Kern County have died in drowning accidents. Seven of those deaths occurred last year.

Some of the common factors in drowning cases are lapses in supervision, safety-mechanism failures and lack of CPR initiation.

While the river is often a focus of drowning risk, statistics show that 90 percent of drownings in young children occur in pools.

“Thankfully, parents and caregivers can play a key role in protecting the children they love from drowning,” said Corson.

She offered the following tips to reduce the risks of drowning:

• Watch kids when they are in or around water, without being distracted. Keep young children within arm’s reach of an adult.

• Empty all tubs, buckets, containers and kiddie pools immediately after use.

• Install fences around home pools. A pool fence should surround all sides of the pool and be at least four feet tall with self-closing and self-latching gates.

• Learn CPR. Performing resuscitation on a drowning victim in the time it takes for first responders to arrive could save their life.

To learn more visit our website kernpublichealth.com or Safe Kids International safekids.org.

Pictured: Terra MacGregor in the family splash pool. — Photo by Christina MacGregor

Story First Published: 2020-06-12