⚫ Drowning deaths are increasing among children under age 15

⚫ Most drowning deaths are preventable

⚫ Simple tips can save lives

New Jersey has already had a taste of swimming-pool tragedies in 2024.

As official statistics suggest that youth drownings are on the rise, medical professionals are urging parents to do more.

According to new data from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, fatal drownings of minors under age 15 increased by 12% from 2020 to 2021, the most recent year for which statistics are available. Drowning remains the leading cause of death among kids aged 1 to 4.

“As temperatures climb and families flock to the water for relief, the importance of pool safety is critical," said Dr. Erin Muckey, an assistant professor of emergency medicine at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School, and medical director of the emergency department at University Hospital in Newark.

At the pool, "constant supervision" is key, Muckey said. Even if there's a lifeguard on duty, an adult should be designated as the "water watcher," tasked with keeping an eye on the kids.

"Not on the phone, not texting, not doing anything except watching the children," she said.

SEE ALSO: Should you worry about a spider invasion in NJ this year?

In New Jersey, the law states that your private pool must be entirely enclosed by some type of barrier, such as a fence around the perimeter of the pool or backyard. Municipalities may have even stricter regulations on the books to prevent tragedies.

NJ drownings this year

Swimming pool incidents claimed a number of young lives in New Jersey in late May and early June. In one tragic accident, two siblings — 11 and 14 years old — had to be rescued from the pool after holding their breath under the water too long during a game of Marco Polo. Their parents eventually made the tough decision to pull them off life support.

It's believed a 23-year-old Essex County man drowned in the ocean off Spring Lake in early May.

Even good swimmers can end up drowning in any body of water that has a current, Muckey said.

"Someone who might be safe in a small pool might not be safe in open water," Muckey said. "Or someone who might be safe for a short period of time might actually tire out really easily."

Muckey said parents should make sure that their children truly know how to swim whenever they're done with flotation devices like vests and water wings.

Experts advise parents to learn CPR, preferably through a course with hands-on training.

Report a correction 👈 | 👉 Contact our newsroom

Don't get fooled: Here's 24 scam texts I received in just one month

Although some may be humorous, others appear legit. Here are 24 texts I received in just one month's time, as well as one I'm surprised I never got.

Spam texts are listed in the same order that was received.

Gallery Credit: Mike Brant

NJ fast food: If you don't have these apps, you're losing money

What's better than a free item at your favorite New Jersey fast or quick food spot? With so many loyalty programs, it can be tough to keep up, so we did the work for you.

Gallery Credit: Erin Vogt

More From New Jersey 101.5 FM