Freeman News

Freeman Pediatricians Encourage Safety Around Water

July 01, 2019

What Parents Need to Know About Drowning Prevention

As families take to the water this summer, Freeman pediatricians offer a word of caution – drowning can be silent and quick, and kills nearly 1,000 children annuallyMost drownings occur during the months of May through August.

“I urge parents, caregivers, pool owners and vacationers to make drowning prevention a top priority,” said Dr. Beth Garrett, Freeman Pediatrician. “Drowning is the single leading cause of injury-related death among children ages 1 to 4. Many occur when children are not expected to be swimming or when they have unanticipated access to water.”

Earlier this year, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) updated recommendations to prevent drowning in children, and included strategies to protect children at each stage of their life. New parents are advised to be vigilant at bathtime and to empty all buckets and wading pools immediately. All children should learn to swim, and children and teens should wear life jackets near open bodies of water. Teens can learn CPR and other water safety skills.

“Water is everywhere and we need multiple layers to protect children from the deadly risks it poses,” said Dr. Garrett. “Simply learning to swim is not enough, so parents need to take additional safety steps.”

Additional water safety recommendations from the AAP include:

  • For homes with a pool, install a four-sided fence with self-closing and self-latching gates that completely surrounds the pool and isolates it from the house.
  • When infants or toddlers are in or around water, a supervising adult with swimming skills should be within arm’s length, providing constant “touch supervision.”
  • Even with older children and better swimmers, the supervising adult should focus on the child and not be engaged with other distracting activities.

About Freeman Health System
Locally owned, not-for-profit and nationally recognized, Freeman Health System includes Freeman Hospital West, Freeman Hospital East, Freeman Neosho Hospital and Ozark Center – the area’s largest provider of behavioral health services – as well as two urgent care clinics, dozens of physician clinics and a variety of specialty services. In 2019, Freeman earned dozens of individual awards for medical excellence and patient safety from CareChex®, a quality rating system that helps consumers evaluate healthcare providers. With more than 300 physicians on staff representing more than 70 specialties, Freeman provides cancer care, heart care, neurology and neurosurgery, orthopaedics, children’s services and women’s services. Additionally, Freeman is the only Children’s Miracle Network Hospital in a 70-mile radius. For more information, visit