For Release: July 10, 2019 – Jamie Dukes, Office of Communications (405) 271-5601
As the summer continues, Oklahoma families are spending their time in the water to keep cool. In effort to help prevent injury and drowning, the Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) encourages the public to use caution and practice water safety.
In Oklahoma, there were 296 drowning deaths reported from 2015-2018. Among adults, the most common places for drowning were natural bodies of water such as lakes, ponds, rivers, etc. One in four drowning deaths were children aged 0-19. Of those, more than half were children 1-4 years of age. Drowning is the leading cause of death for children 1-4 years of age. Unlike adults, the most common place for young children to drown was in a swimming pool.
Lorry Gail Malcom is the OSDH childhood injury prevention project coordinator. She said drownings are preventable, but there must be multiple safe guards in place.
“People shouldn’t rely on one method or product to keep themselves or their children safe,” said Malcom. “Multiple strategies and devices must be used simultaneously to ensure everyone’s safety in and around water.”
The OSDH recommends the following safety tips while being in or near the water: