Young Boy’s Tragic Drowning in the American River Provides Sobering Lesson

Residents in Sacramento mourned the tragic drowning of 5-year-old Ziyon Jamar Butler this week as his body was found in the American River Tuesday morning near Discovery Park. It provided a sobering lesson for parents and caretakers to keep a close eye on your young children near the water.

While drownings are sometimes portrayed on TV as loud, they are typically anything but. Drownings are the leading cause of death for kids younger than five, they usually happen while the kids are under adult supervision.

The American Academy of Pediatrics issued a warning last week about an increased risk of drownings during the Covid-19 pandemic, as kids are spending more time at home with parents and caregivers distracted with other responsibilities. Researchers at the AAP found that 9 out of 10 drowning deaths for children younger than 14 happened while the child was being supervised.

The crowded and hectic beachfront of the American River in Discovery Park over Memorial Day weekend provided an all too familiar scenario for officials who have seen young drownings before. While the boy was being supervised, one momentary lapse or distraction could be tragic.

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Lake was a zoo

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The child was last seen sitting on a blanket near the edge of the American River when a fight broke out on the beach around 6 pm Monday. That incident may have been the reason he went into the water.

The AAP suggests having multiple layers of protection for young children near the water. That means constant supervision along with a life jacket for the child. Parents are also encouraged to undergo CPR training and provide swim lessons for their kids.

While the tragedy at Discovery Park this weekend was preventable, it was hardly rare. Be sure to take the necessary precautions this summer to keep everyone safe near the water.

Active NorCal

Telling the Stories of Northern California

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