State: Kids who drowned in Indiana lakes, pools weren't watched by adults

DNR, DCS issue report

INDIANAPOLIS - A new state report says that the children who drowned in Indiana's lakes and pools largely had a lack of adult supervision.

The Indiana Department of Child Services and the Department of Natural Resources issued the report Tuesday on the 11 youth drowning deaths in 2011, the last year for which complete statistics are available.

DCS Director Mary Beth Bonaventura said that in most cases, adults weren't paying enough attention to the children.

"Children generally don’t have an awareness of the risks around water. It’s up to the adults who care for them to help keep them safe,” Bonaventura said in a news release.

The DNR said three children have been among Indiana's 27 drownings so far this year. That includes a 2 1/2-year-old boy who was found last month floating face down in a back yard pool in northeastern Indiana.

The 2011 drownings include a 3-year-old girl who drowned in a family pool while playing with other children.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention cites accidental drowning as the second-largest cause of death among children ages 14 and younger.

Officials released the following guidelines aimed at keeping children safe this summer.

  • Never leave children alone when near or accessible to water, and teach children to ask permission before going near a body of water.
  • Never leave a child’s safety around water in the hands of another child. Water safety requires vigilant, adult supervision.
  • Ensure the entire family has been properly taught to swim well via a certified water-safety program. Many city parks departments offer these programs.
  • Swim in areas with designated lifeguards on duty.
  • Always swim with a buddy.
  • Have children wear a U.S. Coast Guard approved life-jacket—particularly for children with poor swimming skills—and have a life-preserver on hand. DNR strongly recommends that all family members wear a life-jacket while boating on Indiana lakes and waterways.
  • Teach children never to dive into oceans, lakes or rivers because they do not know what dangerous structures can lurk under the water’s surface.
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