SAN DIEGO — Drowning is a leading cause of death in young children according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and cases always rise during the hot summer months.
At Rady Children's Hospital, they're sounding the alarm about water safety, saying there’s been a recent surge in near drownings. In June, doctors there saw a total of 17 near drownings. Last week, they saw five in just one day, with up to 20 expected in July.
"Each one of those parents in those situations say it wasn't expected," said Rady Children’s emergency room nurse, Frank Sturniolo.
Just last week, a 12-year-old boy was revived after being found unconscious at Mission Beach.
On June 14th, 18-year-old Crawford High School graduate Woodlain Zachee went missing after swimming with friends in Mission Beach. Lifeguards believe he drowned. Sadly, his body still hasn't been found.
“This can happen to anybody,” said Sturniolo.
It's because of those stories and so many others, he wants to educate the public in hopes of preventing a tragedy.
For older kids, near drownings usually occur in oceans, lakes, or other large bodies of water.
When it comes to younger kids, they usually happen in pools.
Sturniolo says it's crucial to have a fence and locking gate, as well as what he calls "touch supervision."
"We want you to be close enough to the child where you can touch them and grab them if they run into trouble and this is around the age of five or younger, that's the biggest thing," said Sturniolo.
Also, keep in mind floaties aren't life saving devices, vests approved by the Coast Guard are. If your child hasn't had swim lessons, consider signing them up. If you're a parent, knowing CPR can be life-saving as well.
"Anything we can do to give oxygenation and prevent further injury after something horrible like [this] is gonna increase the chances the child doesn't have issues when they come to the hospital," said Sturniolo.
But, the most important thing says Sturniolo is to make sure an adult is always watching, because sometimes simply being there isn't enough.
"It's usually the family is present with the child, the child is within a vicinity that they're aware. They're playing maybe with cousins or friends and then all of a sudden they call out and they don't know where the child is."
For additional information on drowning prevention tools, click here.
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