CDC: Unintentional drowning is a leading cause of death for children

EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) -- The Centers for Disease Control says unintentional drowning is a leading cause of death for children and it's preventable.

About ten people die every day from accidental drowning, equaling about 3,400 a year, and according to the CDC many of those are kids.

At Fairfax pool in Eau Claire, while there's never been a drowning, the facility does say lifeguards assist pool-goers around 30 to 40 times a year.

Program supervisor of Parks, Recreation and Forestry, Chad Duerkop said, “One thing everybody needs to remember is just because you have a lifeguarded pool it does not make it drown proof.”

Father of two Josh Kohm said both of his young children have been taking swim lessons since they were 18 months old.

Kohm said, “We live near a lake in the Twin Cities and at least once a year someone drowns at the beach or swimming at other areas of the lake.”

Duerkop says even when lifeguards are on-duty parents need to keep an eye on their children at all times.

“If you have a child that comes to our pool and they're not a good swimmer yet, you need to be within an arm's reach of that child all the time even if there are lifeguards up at the facility,” said Duerkop. “You need to make sure you're taking the extra precautions with your child who is not a solid swimmer as well to prevent drowning.”

The department says swim lessons are necessary for all children especially in a city like Eau Claire.

“It could save their life,” added Duerkop. “It's a skill that's necessary especially in a community like Eau Claire that's got rivers, lakes, ponds, you name it. A child should know basics in water safety and swimming strokes which the American Red Cross swimming lessons teaches those children. It could be the difference of your child coming home from the lake or not.”

Eau Claire Parks and Rec offers swim lessons year-round. During the summer there are five two-week courses offered.

For Eau Claire School District Students the cost is only $7.

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