CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – Summertime in the Lowcountry means more time spent swimming in pools, lakes, and places like Folly Beach. But the summer season also means an increase in water rescues for first responders.
“I’ve seen an increase in this year from last year because everybody wants to be out,” said Nikki Bouie, Safety Program Manager Charleston County Parks.
It’s a problem, and not just when tropical storms are in the forecast. The Isle of Palms Police Department reports a 32-percent increase in calls at the beaches so far this year compared to last. Folly Beach Public Safety also says they have seen an uptick this summer already.
“That comes to the ICU probably seen 5-10 in the last month of two which is a lot, sick enough to come to the ICU, not all of them survive,” said Dr. Elizabeth Mack, Division Chief Pediatric Critical Care.
Watching your children around any body of water is the most important from pools to bathtubs; children can drown in a minute. You have to keep a set of eyes on them at all times especially if they are under the age of 4.
Experts say drowning is the number one killer for kids this age but there are ways to stay safe.
“Most important, fences are the most protective way to prevent drowning in young children,” said Dr. Mack, Division Chief Pediatric Critical Care.
At the beaches, it’s important to watch out for rip currents and make sure not to fight the water.
“It will just pull you out and people panic and that’s why they drown so if you feel like you are being pulled away from shore just relax and let the current pull you out until you’re no longer being pulled away from shore and then swim parallel to get back in,” said Bouie, Safety Program Manager Charleston County Parks.
While children are at the highest risk anyone can drown. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention reports almost 4 thousand fatal drownings each year. That is an average of eleven deaths per day.