‘Silent epidemic’: Mother opens up about her son’s tragic downing, expert shares summer safety water

With the start of the summer season, more people are heading to the pool or the beach to swim, but there are dangers.

Alex Hoehn-Saric is the chair of the U.S. consumer product safety commission.

“We are still seeing far too many deaths and injuries associated with drownings. It’s the leading cause of death for kids, one to four,” said Hoehn-Saric

An issue that hits close to home for Seattle-based Chezik Tsunoda.

She’s the founder of ‘No More Under, a non-profit organization dedicated to saving lives through water safety education.

“My advocacy in water safety started after my son. Yori, who was 3 at the time, passed away in a backyard pool. We had adults there and there were kids there. Adults even sat in the pool,” said Tsunoda

She says a child drowning is quick with no splashing and yelling as some may expect.

“It was just a reminder, I guess, an unfortunate reminder that this is something that happens to good people, good parents,” Tsunoda added.

Tsunoda calls child drowning a silent epidemic, as parents can sometimes feel ashamed.

“It’s devastating for me and my family.”

CPSC recently released a report showing significant racial disparities with 21% of drownings taking place within the African-American community.

“There is systemic racism that is still present in the aquatic community. And that is showing in statistics that black and brown children are more likely to drown,” Tsunoda said.

To avoid tragedy, Hoehn-Saric says there always needs to be a designated adult watching the children, swimming lessons and life jackets are critical.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission says parents should have alternative layers of protection like fences around the home, pool covers, and gates.

They recommend also checking pool drains.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates as more information becomes available.

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