Intermountain Health and Intermountain Primary Children’s Hospital Donates Hundreds of Life Jackets to Loaner Stations Across Utah in Effort to Save Lives

(PRUnderground) May 22nd, 2024

With Memorial Day right around the corner, safety experts at Intermountain Primary Children’s Hospital are issuing a reminder for everyone this summer: Life jackets and supervision are critical to keeping kids safe around the water.

A donation of 900 life jackets to Life Jacket Loaner Stations across Utah were recently made by Intermountain Health and Intermountain Primary Children’s Hospital to help keep families safe around water this summer. Life jackets are being provided for various loaner stations for people getting out this summer to enjoy the water through a collaberation by Intermountain Primary Children’s and other local health and community agencies throughout the state.

The life jackets are available to borrow on a first come, first served basis in various sizes for children to adults and should be returned at the end of the day.

“Drowning is the second leading cause of preventable injury death for Utah children under age 14, with 70 percent of drowning deaths happening between May and August,” said Wing Province, MD, Intermountain Park City Hospital chief medical officer and emergency medicine physician.

About one-third of drownings in Utah occur in lakes, rivers, canals, and other bodies of water, according to the Utah Department of Health & Human Services. Research also shows that most drownings could have been prevented if a life jacket had been worn.

“The goals for the life jacket loaner program are to make life jackets more available and increase the wearing of life jackets during water-based activities. It’s also an opportunity to educate the public on the proper use and fit of life jackets,’ said Karlee Kump, community health manager at Intermountain Primary Children’s Hospital.

“Whether a rec center in Salt Lake County or one of our many lakes, we have great partners, like Intermountain Health who are also concerned about keeping kids safe while in the water,” said McKell Christensen, Utah Drowning Prevention Coalition. “However, we all need to remember, there is never a substitution for adult supervision in the water and wearing a life jacket can save a life.”

Lance and Danielle Bradshaw of Draper say they wish a life jacket loaner station would have been an option for them two years ago when they had a freak accident on June 29, 2022, at Blackridge Reservoir.

Danielle, who is a good swimmer, was on a raft with her girls, ages 2 and 5, when they flipped over while trying to retrieve some garbage.

She says she struggled to stay afloat while keeping her babies above water.

Bystanders saw them thrashing in the water and heard her calls for help and got the two girls to the shore.

Danielle’s son pulled her to safety, but she was in cardiac arrest.

Lance, who was on his way to meet his family with life jackets, received a frantic call from his 10-year-old daughter, saying, “Mommy drowned and isn’t breathing anymore.”

Before Lance could get there, an off-duty police officer jumped into action and quickly started CPR.

After spending one night in the hospital, Danielle was back with her husband and eight kids and giving thanks for the officer’s quick response.

“There’s no way to repay those who didn’t hesitate to step-in and save us,” said Danielle. “I realize now it’s always better to be safe and cautious than to be sorry,” said Danielle.

“The reality is you always want to be prepared for whatever might happen,” said Lance. “Everyone should get in a habit of wearing a life jacket, even in shallow water.”

Safety experts at Intermountain Primary Children’s Hospital agree. They say the best prevention comes from a Coast Guard-approved jacket and appropriate adult supervision.

Here are some other ways keep young children safe around water:

• Appoint a “water watcher” to supervise children without distraction. Take shifts and create a visual cue, like a lanyard or silly hat, so everyone knows who’s watching.

• Fully drain kiddie pools and buckets and turn them upside down when not in use.

• Ensure the whole family learns to swim.

• Have children wear Coast Guard-approved life jackets instead of water wings, which can deflate or fall off a child’s arms.

• Enclose pools and hot tubs with self-closing and locking gates.

• Teach children to stay away from water while hiking or camping.

• If a child is missing, always check nearby water first.

• If a child falls into rushing water, call 911. Don’t jump in after them.

• Learn CPR.

If you’re headed to one of Utah’s lakes, reservoirs, or rivers to recreate, here are additional tips to keep your family safe:

• Use a Coast Guard approved lifejacket.

• Being a good swimmer isn’t a guarantee of safety. Children and teens should swim with an adult.

• Remember, teens are an at-risk group who also need supervision and reminders. They are often overconfident and impulsive, which can be dangerous in open water.

• Solo swimming is never a good idea.

• Know your surroundings. The lakes are still very cold and can quickly affect swimmers with dangerous cramps, shock, hypothermia, and difficulty breathing.

• If someone is in danger in open water, don’t dive in to save them. Instead, throw something to help them float and call for help.

• Alcohol and swimming don’t mix.

Injury prevention is part of Intermountain Health’s more than $600 million?Primary Promise?to create the nation’s?model health system for children. This historic campaign is a partnership between Intermountain Health and its communities and has raised more than $500 million to date.

For more information about child safety and injury prevention, visit primarychildrens.org/safety.

Some of the Life Jacket Loaner Stations can be found at the following locations: Lincoln Beach, Vineyard Beach, Lindon Marina, American Fork Marina, Saratoga Springs Marina, The Knolls, Mill Race, Sandy Beach, Utah Lake State Park 1 and 2, Saratoga Springs Marina 2, Saratoga Springs North Marina, Bear Lake State Park, Hyrum State Park, Starvation Boat Ramp, Jordanelle Reservoir, Otter Creek, Halls Crossing Marina, Quail Creek, Sand Hollow, and some Salt Lake Rec Centers.

About Intermountain Health

Headquartered in Utah with locations in seven states and additional operations across the western U.S., Intermountain Health is a nonprofit system of 33 hospitals, 385 clinics, medical groups with some 3,900 employed physicians and advanced care providers, a health plans division called Select Health with more than one million members, and other health services. Helping people live the healthiest lives possible, Intermountain is committed to improving community health and is widely recognized as a leader in transforming healthcare by using evidence-based best practices to consistently deliver high-quality outcomes at sustainable costs. For more information or updates, see https://intermountainhealthcare.org/news.

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