INCREASE IN DROWNINGS: PARENTS & CAREGIVERS SHOULD PUT DOWN THEIR CELL PHONES Posted on June 27, 2019 It has become common knowledge that distracted driving and cell phone usage results in vehicle crashes, injuries, and deaths on our roadways. Recent evidence also demonstrates the devastating impact of cell phone usage on drownings. After 300 drownings in one year (2018), the German Lifeguard Association issued a warning to adults regarding the hazard of being on mobile devices while supervising children around water. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports more than 900 fatal drownings to children annually in the US. With the bountiful opportunities for Missoulians to enjoy the water this summer on lakes, rivers, ponds and pools, protect those around you by educating family members, babysitters, friends and even strangers that cell phones are a life-threatening distraction when kids are swimming. What else can parents do to keep their swimmers safe? Water Watcher – The primary job of a water watcher is to watch children swimming or playing near water – even if they know how to swim. This person should not be under the influence of drugs or alcohol, put down his or her cell phone, avoid other activities and supervise even if there are lifeguards present. Life Jackets – Put your child in a properly fitted U.S. Coast Guard approved life jacket when around or near water. CPR Training – Parents, caregivers, and pool owners should know CPR and how to get emergency help. Check the Water First – If your child is missing, look in the pool, hot tub, or bodies of water first.