Experts warn 'water is dangerous' as drowning deaths rise among teens

As the hot summer days start rolling in, plenty of families are flocking to the water. However, experts have a big warning to keep in mind.

"Water is dangerous for young teens," said Dave Benjamin of the Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project. "And there have been fatal consequences."

The Chicago Park District is issuing the warning as pools and beaches reopen.

"We recommend no jumping off the piers, no swimming around the piers. There’s always dangerous currents," Benjamin said.


Every beach is unique and a Lurie Children’s emergency room doctor who has seen too many drownings says it is important to learn the difference.

"As families haven’t been able to be in the water over the last year.... we want them to touch base with lifeguards... with each beach."

Drownings are still the leading cause of death among children between one and 4-years-old.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission released the new numbers.

"The latest drowning data shows an increase in fatal drownings between 2016 and 2018 in children under 15," said Nikki Fleming.

The lesson? Supervision is key.

"It’s so important to designate a water watcher in and around the pool at all times. We know that young kids are curious. And they will access the water when no one is there," Fleming said.

Other tips: put up fencing around your pool and lock it, and teach yourself and your child how to swim and learn CPR.

"Again, it can happen quickly and silently so make sure you have the lifesaving skills of learning CPR whether on an adult or a child. That could be another lifesaving skill for you and your family," Fleming said.

There have been 24 drownings on the great lakes already this year – nine have been in Lake Michigan.