SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) - The body of an inner tuber recovered Tuesday from the Spokane River was the fourth person to drown within the past week in the Spokane area. There was another drowning in the Spokane River, one in the Little Spokane River in Stevens County and one in Spirit Lake in Kootenai County, Idaho. None of the victims wore life jackets. The Spokesman-Review reports (http://is.gd/Bz0KE8) drownings account for about 150 deaths in Spokane and Kootenai counties in the past decade. Authorities say people who go out on the water often are unprepared for swift current and the cold of water that comes from melting snow.
Spokane Regional Health District is urging area residents to use simple, proven methods to decrease their chances of injury or drowning. Water conditions and water temperatures can get even the best swimmers into serious trouble.
Drowning is the second leading cause of unintentional injury death among children and youth in Washington state. As many as 85 percent of these drownings occur in open water, such as lakes and rivers. The recent drownings and rescues in Spokane's local waters serve as an important reminder that people of all ages are at risk.
"Drowning is often swift, silent and occurs in as little as 30 seconds," said SRHD health officer Dr. Joel McCullough. "In addition to swimming in supervised areas, life jackets are an important measure all Spokane County residents can take to prevent drowning – on lakes, rivers and in pools.Make sure that every family member has a U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket that is in good condition and fits properly when boating, fishing and participating in other water activities.Life Jacket CouponsTo assist families in purchasing affordable, properly fitting life jackets, the health district and the Inland NW Drowning Prevention Coalition partner with Big 5 Sporting Goods to provide 25 percent off discount coupons for life jackets. The coupons provide tips for proper life jacket selection, fit and use, and may be redeemed at any Big 5 Sporting Goods store in Washington state or north Idaho through Sept 30, 2012. To access the coupons, click here. Important Life Jacket Tips
1. Be prepared at all times by wearing a life jacket - you'll never know when you'll be tossed into the water.
2. Parents are powerful role models - if they wear life jackets, it's more likely their children will too.
3. Take life jackets, a rescue device, a cell phone, and someone who knows CPR whenever you are out on the water.
4. Parents need to teach their children about the dangers of open water at rivers and beaches.
5. Many sporting goods stores will assist customers in selecting appropriate, properly-fitting life jackets.
6. Watch children closely around water - they can go under water quickly and quietly.
When buying a life jacket, check for:
1. U.S. Coast Guard-approval label.
2. A snug fit. Check weight and size on the label and try the life jacket on your child. Pick up your child by the shoulders of the life jacket. The child's chin and ears should not slip through if the fit is proper.
3. Head support for younger children. A well-designed life jacket will support the child's head when the child is in the water.
4. A strap between the legs for younger children will help prevent the vest from coming off.
5. That it is rated for appropriate type of activity and water conditions. There are five different types of life jackets. Ask the salesperson to describe to you the different types and their purposes.
6. Comfort and appearance.
Child Watcher TagsSpokane Regional Health District developed a Designated Child Watcher Tag for use by parents who are supervising children during water recreation activities. These activities include swimming at the pool or the beach, and boating, especially when a group of children are present at waterside social gatherings such as barbecues or birthday parties. The tag contains rescue steps and rescue breathing tips for children and infants to assist a child watcher needing to respond to a submersion incident. A whistle is attached for signaling the attention of children involved in water play. A brochure also accompanies the tag with information regarding responsible supervision of children around water activities, both at home and away from home, with an emphasis on designating a responsible adult to watch the children. The Designated Child Watcher tags and brochures are being distributed at local community events and are available free to the public by contacting Spokane Regional Health District at 324-1560 x4.
For more drowning prevention information, click here to visit the health district's designated page on its site. More information can also be found at www.srhd.org. SRHD's website offers comprehensive, updated information about Spokane Regional Health District and its triumphs in making Spokane a safer and healthier community. Become a fan of SRHD on Facebook to receive local safety and wellness tips. You can also follow us on Twitter @spokanehealth.