Pa. drowning rate is fourth-highest in U.S.

    Pennsylvania ranks fourth in the country for its number of drownings and near-drownings in pools and spas, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. The commission tracks incidents involving children 15 and younger.

    Connie Harvey, of the American Red Cross, broke down the commonwealth’s numbers for this year.

    “So far, there have been 11 incidents reported in the news, all since Memorial Day weekend. That’s a tragedy,” she said. “There were three fatal drownings, and eight non-fatal drownings.”

    That tally does not include incidents in the state’s lakes, rivers and other natural bodies of water, where a high number of drownings occur, says Beverly Payton of the National Drowning Prevention Agency.

    “If you don’t have good swimming skills, and especially if there’s a current running, you could be in very deep trouble, very quick,” she said. “That’s why it’s so dangerous.”

    When participating in water activities, the Red Cross and Consumer Product Safety Commission stress that adults should supervise children. All should learn water safety skills and have appropriate equipment, such as U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jackets.

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