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SALT LAKE CITY -- Between a series of water accidents in recent days and the upcoming holiday weekend, the Utah Department of Health is asking parents to be especially careful around water.
The Health Department says water accidents are more common than you think.
A child can drown in as little as one inch of water and drowning is usually quick and silent.
–Dr. Charles Pruitt, Primary Children's Medical Center
Jenny Johnson, media and education coordinator for the Violence and Injury Prevention Program, says, "An average of 10 children in Utah die every year because of drowning, and another 82 have near-drowning incidents, where they're admitted to either the hospital or they have to go to the emergency room."
In those cases of near-drowning, permanent brain damage can often result.
"You always think you're going to hear your kid flailing in the water, screaming for help," she says, "and that's not what happens."
With smaller children, in particular, Johnson says drowning can be completely silent. But in many cases in the warmer weather, she says even if the child made a splash or other noise, the problem is that mom and dad may be distracted.
"A child can drown in as little as one inch of water and drowning is usually quick and silent," said Dr. Charles Pruitt, an Emergency Medicine physician at Primary Children's Medical Center. "A child may lose consciousness after just one to three minutes and may have irreversible brain damage in as little as four to six minutes after submersion."
What's the solution?
"Parents just need to be diligent about making sure they're never more than an arm's length away from their kid [around water]," Johnson says.