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DHHS Urges Water Safety Following Recent Drowning Deaths in North Carolina


North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services
News Release - July 20, 2012
Contact: Julie Henry, DHHS Public Affairs, 919-855-4840

RALEIGH – North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Al Delia urges people to use caution around water, especially when supervising children, following six accidental drowning deaths in the state since Memorial Day. Two of the deaths were children under 18 years old.

“When the weather is hot, the water is a great place to cool off, but we need to keep a careful eye on children,” Delia said. “Most young children who drown are out of sight less than five minutes."

According to the N.C. Child Fatality Task Force, in 2011 there were 20 outdoor drowning deaths involving children ages 17 years and younger.

Even the most vigilant caregiver can become momentarily distracted, so barriers around water – such as pool fences – can help prevent drowning deaths. Still, Delia says, there is no substitute for supervision and suggests that people follow some practical safety tips around water:

  • Teach your children how to swim as soon as possible.
  • Never swim alone and never when you are tired or not feeling well.
  • Swim only in supervised areas.
  • When swimming in rivers and the ocean, mind the currents.
  • Young children should wear personal floatation devices in the water.
  • No drinking alcohol when swimming or supervising others who are swimming.
  • Install fences and keep safety equipment handy.

To learn more about preventing accidental drowning and safety tips for children and adults, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Water Safety website:

Safe Kids North Carolina’s Lock, Look and Learn program also offers tips for swimming pools and spas safety, (includes a video clip), as does Child Safety Network: and

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