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YMCA of South Collier in Marco Island is urging parents and caregivers to prevent drownings as children continue to being kept from school or childcare due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

"All of this new activity in the home can be quite the distraction and even mild distractions can cause massive tragedies," as stated by the YMCA.

From 2005-2014, there were an average of 3,536 fatal unintentional drownings annually in the United States — about ten deaths per day, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's website. An additional 332 people died each year from drowning in boating-related incidents.

About one in five people who die from drowning are children 14 and younger and for every child who dies from drowning, another five receive emergency department care for nonfatal submersion injuries.

"These nonfatal drowning injuries can cause severe brain damage that may result in long-term disabilities such as memory problems, learning disabilities, and permanent loss of basic functioning," according to the CDC.

Here is what YMCA recommends you do to prevent drownings

  • Always supervise children in the pool and put down your phone. Designate an adult "water watcher" to keep an eye on the kids and change watchers every 15 or 30 minutes.
  • Place fences with self closing latches around bodies of water.
  • Attach alarms on all windows and doors leading to the pool.
  • Wear Coast Guard approved life jackets.
  • Remove toys from the pool after kids are done playing to stop children from reaching toys in the water.
  • Remove tables and chairs near pool fencing and windows leading to the pool. 

If you do not have a life-jacket, the YMCA of South Collier has a free borrowing program. For more information, send an email to Morgan Joseph, aquatics director, to aquatics@marcoy.org or call 239-394-9622, ext.108.

Omar Rodríguez Ortiz is a community reporter for Naples Daily News and Marco Eagle. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram as @Omar_fromPR, and on Facebook. Support his work by subscribing to Naples Daily News.

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