Always designate someone to watch — not swim with — young swimmers

Many children narrowly escape drowning during summertime celebrations held near water. Even if lifeguards are on duty, designating an adult water watcher could easily prevent a tragedy, says Dr. Steven Kernie, associate professor of pediatrics at UT Southwestern Medical Center.

“A lot of drowning happen at parties or social events where there are plenty of adults around, but everybody assumes someone else is watching the water,” says Dr. Kernie, a pediatric critical care physician.

Water watchers should not swim themselves and have immediate access to a telephone so they can call 911 in case an accident occurs. That means keeping the phone, if it’s a cell phone, charged and within reach rather than in your vehicle or indoors, Dr. Kernie says. Water watchers should also refrain from eating, talking or other distractions while on duty.

Visit to learn more about clinical services in pediatrics at UT Southwestern.

Media Contact: Erin Prather Stafford

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