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Drowning Is Second Leading Cause of Death Among Children 1 To 4 Years of Age


For Immediate Release Contact: Ernest Landante, Jr.
July 10, 2014 609-292-0422

TRENTON - As the summer continues to heat up, the New Jersey Department of Children and Families (DCF) wants to ensure that small children trying to cool off remain safe around water.

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), drowning causes more deaths among children 1 to 4 years of age than any other cause except birth defects.  It is also the second leading cause of unintentional injury-related death among children ages 1 to 14, trailing only motor vehicle crashes.

"The opportunity to spend time in the water during the summer is one of the best ways for children and  families to keep cool," said DCF Commissioner Allison Blake.  "Taking safety precautions is paramount because water tragedies can occur quickly even in just a few inches of water and often without any splashing or screaming.  That is why it is imperative that parents, guardians, and other caregivers should never leave children unsupervised near water, not even for a second."

The CDC notes the primary factors that affect drowning risk are: lack of swimming ability, lack of barriers to prevent unsupervised water access, lack of close supervision while swimming, location, failure to wear life jackets, alcohol use, and seizure disorders.

DCF recommends that parents and caregivers follow several tips to help keep young people safe in and around water:

  • Never leave children swimming unattended.  Drowning can occur in an inch or two of water.
  • Stay within an arm's length of small children in water to protect against rapid drowning.
  • Warn children never to swim in a pool or at a beach alone or without a lifeguard.
  • Train children to swim at an early age.
  • Teach children that swimming in a pool is far different than swimming in open water.
  • Be certain only qualified and undistracted adults are entrusted with supervising children in water.
  • Always empty inflatable pools, buckets, pails, and bathtubs after each use.
  • Be aware that personal floatation devices do not guarantee water safety.

DCF is dedicated to ensuring a better today and an even greater tomorrow for every individual the department serves. In partnership with New Jersey's communities, DCF ensures the safety, well-being, and success of New Jersey's children and families.  DCF funds and directly provides services and support to over 100,000 women, children, and families each month.

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