The Middlesex District Attorney brings summer safety campaign to the MetroWest YMCA

By Charlene Arsenault and Susan Petroni (Patch staff)

July 6, 2015

Five thousand children a year are hospitalized in drowning-related deaths.

Between 2006 and 2012, 31 children died from drownings in Middlesex County, which is comprised of 54 communities, including Sudbury, and 1.6 million people.

But in 2013 and 2014, not one child died in Middlesex County, said District Attorney Marian Ryan.

Ryan, who took over as DA in 2012, wants to keep that record of no child drowning deaths this summer, and is campaigning throughout the County, which is larger than 11 states, about her Keeping Kids Safe campaign.

She stopped by the MetroWest YMCA earlier this week.

“Obviously, I’m trying to get out the message, and the Y is a great place to do that,” said Ryan.

Ryan said she identified three types of deaths of kids that occur during the summer months.

The first is drowning, the second is falling out of windows, and the third is leaving a child in a hot car.

“All of which are completely preventable,” said Ryan.

She said she wants everyone to be aware of the three types of drownings and work to prevent them.

The first is when a young child gets in to a pool, and drowns.

The second is a child who dies in “ornamental water” like a pond.

The third is older teens, between the age of 14-16, mostly boys, who for some reason, be it new to the country or unable to afford lessons, never learned to swim.

“They go on an outing with one of their friends and don’t want to say they don’t know how to swim. How hard can it be they think. It’s 90 degrees. In they go, with a tragic result,” Ryan told leaders of the MetroWest YMCA.

She said when a child dies from drowning, families and neighborhoods never forget.

I hear often “when I was a kid, someone died in the neighborhood,” said Ryan. “People were never the same. “Neighborhoods and people never recovered from that.”

Ryan said her office put together some safety tips:

Splash into a Safe Swim Season: Water Safety

  • Actively supervise children at all times in any body of water
  • Teach children to swim
  • Never swim alone
  • Ensure that residential pools are locked and secure when not in use
  • Keep climbable objects away from pool barriers

Kids Can’t Fly: Window Safety

  • Lock all unopened windows
  • Open windows from the top down if possible
  • Keep toys and climbable furniture such as beds and sofas away from windows
  • Install window stops to prevent windows from opening more than 4 inches
  • Install window guards with a quick-release feature for emergencies
  • Plant shrubs or place other soft material under windows to cushion potential falls
  • Don’t rely on screens to protect your child—screens are designed to keep bugs out, not children in

Check the Back Seat: Car Safety

  • NEVER leave children alone in a parked vehicle, even if they are asleep or restrained or the windows are open
  • If a child is missing, check the vehicle first, including the trunk
  • Do things to remind yourself a child is in the vehicle, such as placing your purse or other items you need in the back seat
  • Always lock your car and keep the keys out of children’s reach

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