Local pediatricians speak out on water safety

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. – The American Academy of Pediatrics is urging parents and other adults to plan multiple layers of protection to keep children and teens safe around water this summer.

“It can be devastating. On one end it can be as bad as death. On the other hand, I’ve seen cases as bad as brain damage to the point of a vegetative state,” said Dr. Kelly Kries, a local pediatrician.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, children are spending more time at home with caregivers who may be distracted.

“There might be more distractions going home with parents trying to do Zoom meetings and with parents maybe dealing with work things and a child could easily make their way to a pool,” said Kries.

But pools are not the only dangerous bodies of water, even a small amount of water can be detrimental.

“A lot of people don’t think about, a toddler has a center of gravity that is different. So, if there is a commode open, they can tip over in there and they can actually drown that way,” said Dr. Debra Sowell, a local pediatrician.

And when it comes to boating, it’s against the law for children under 12 to go without a flotation device.

“The number one thing you can do is wear a life jacket when you are on the water and make sure your kids are wearing a life jacket. That is a rule,” said Kries.

“It is so important for everyone to learn how to swim just as soon as possible,” said Sowell.

Local pediatricians also recommend ensuring that back yard pools are surrounded on all four sides with a latched fence.