Local doctor offers parents simple, important water safety tips | KOB 4
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Local doctor offers parents simple, important water safety tips

Casey Torres
July 03, 2019 08:10 AM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.— More families are heading to swimming pools, lakes and rivers to cool off. However, a physician at Journey Pediatrics in northeast Albuquerque wants to remind parents to not lose sight of their kids.

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"Drowning is preventable. It is not necessary. It never has to happen,” said Dr. Melissa Mason.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, nearly 1,000 kids in the U.S. died of drowning in 2017.

"In New Mexico, unintentional injury, including drowning, is actually the leading cause of death in kids under 5. It also peaks again in the teenage years,” she added.

Dr. Mason says swimming is a life skill that must be learned, and children can usually start swimming lessons at ages 1 to 4 with age-appropriate classes.

Dr. Mason recommends parents practice certain safety measures if their kids are not swimmers, or if they are weak swimmers.

Some of those safety measures are:

  • Touch Prevention - A parent in the water with their child at arm’s length to prevent drowning.
  • Water Watcher - Even with a lifeguard present, an assigned supervisor should be 100-percent focused on kids without any distractions.

Dr. Mason also said children 12 and under are required by New Mexico law to wear a U.S. Coast Guard approved life vest in open waters.

Physicians like Dr. Mason say water wings can give parents and children a false sense of security, so don’t solely rely on them as they can deflate and lead to drowning.

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Casey Torres

Copyright 2019 KOB-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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