icyou's medical editor, Mona Khanna, MD, MPH, talks about the risk of drowning with young children. Dr. Mona also talks about what to do if you see somebody drowning.
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Host: Why is drowning such an important issue for children? Dr. Mona Khanna: Well, a lot of people don't really know this, but drowning is actually one of the leading causes of deaths of children and infants and that's under the age of 2 and that's because there are some surprising hazards actually. Children can drown in two inches of water and that's because all you need to do is have their nose and their mouth submerged in the water. Their whole body doesn't need to be entirely submerged. So a lot of parents need to be very conscious when they are giving baths to children, make sure you never leave your child alone even if it's just for a couple of seconds to run and get a towel or something, especially if there is any water at all in the tub. Backseats in the tub can slip down and that's when the child mouth and nose can be submerged as well. During the summer time, often times children spent a lot of time outdoors, wading pools some of those plastic pools that you can put in the backyard. When you are done with your child playing with the pool, make sure you empty it, it's completely empty, turn it upside-down so that child doesn't accidentally go to the pool at some time when there is no adult around, when there is at least an inch or two of water in it. If there is any buckets or pails around, make sure that they are empty because the child can get into those pails. So I think the most important thing to do is be absolutely aware that drowning can occur in very, very small amounts of water. And of course, there is this old warning about, if you have a pull attached on your ground, make sure that there is a fence around it and anytime your children are around the pull, be sure that you are with them and attentive at all time. It's really common for parents to sit on a lounge chair, talk on the phone, read a magazine, you have to be attentive. Host: What should you do if you see a person drowning? Dr. Mona Khanna: Rescue drownings follow the same guidelines as basic life support in CPR. The first thing you do of course is check for any signs of breathing. You'll tilt the chin up, you'll look, listen and feel, look for the chest rising for any breathing motion, listen to see if you can hear the breathing and feel, and feel for a pulse of a child. Give one or two breaths to a child, see if you see the chest rise and while you are doing this, it's important to also call for emergency help. So if you're doing a rescue drowning and there is two people involved, send one of those to call 911 so emergency help is on the way, while you are performing the CPR. If it's a 1% rescue, start the breaths, check for a pulse, and do some chest compressions first before going to call for help, if there is no response.
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