Orange County, California has a beautiful, mild climate with many sunny days and an average temperature of 70 degrees. With all of this sunshine, many residents head to the backyard or community pool for some fun in the sun. However, in California, drowning is the leading cause of death in children under the age of 14 and it is a silent killer.
Nine people drown each day in U.S. pools. Moreover, for each person who drowns, four are hospitalized for near drowning trauma. Near drowning episodes can cause serious personal injury such as hypoxia, or lack of oxygen to the brain which in turn can cause permanent serious neurological disabilities. A child can drown in as little as one inch of water, and drowning is usually quick and silent. After as little as two minutes under water, a child will lose consciousness and within four to six minutes, irreversible brain damage most likely will occur.
A recent example of a family tragedy here in Orange County was the Looney family. The one year old toddler slipped away from his mother and headed for the backyard pool. Even though he was only missing for “a few minutes”, a drowning can happen in a matter of seconds. This is the most common scenario; toddler or child slips into a neighbor or their own pool for fun and drowns. On the other hand, kids also can drown when there are several people around.
Another tragic example is the case of little Aurora Pruitt in Orange County last year. This 4 year old was in a pool with 15 children and 5 adults were watching them. They only noticed her at the bottom of the pool when the kids came out for lunch. Adults around the pool are fine, but there should always be someone who is the official “water watcher”.
Water Watcher is a water safety campaign developed by Safekids.org to raise public awareness of the dangers of unsupervised children in the backyard pool area. Since most kids are only “out of site” of the parents for less than 5 minutes. Sadly, 75% of pool accidents occur with one or both of the parents nearby.
In addition to swimming safety, entrapment is growing concern for owners of older pool whose drains may not be in good working order. Parents should advise their children to stay away from the strong suction around drains and avoid serious personal injury. Loose fitting swim suits, long hair and thin body parts can all become entangled in the hot tub or swimming pool drain.
If you are a pool owner and have a backyard party, remember you can be held liable if someone is injured in your pool. Here are a few safety tips to consider avoiding problems:
· Always have a dedicated adult watch swimmers at all times · When pool is not in use, consider installing a gate or fence to protect children from entering the pool area · Teach children after 4 years of age how to swim, float and get out of the pool.
· Don’t depend on flotation-type “float ties” as a substitution for child safety · Always remove pool toys after use to dissuade children from returning and being enticed to re-enter the pool area · Keep your pool’s equipment maintained properly to avoid entrapment · As a pool owner, stay current in infant CPR and first aid.
Unfortunately we have had to represent parents against those who do not protect our children in apartments, and elsewhere. If you need our help please call for a free consultation. In the event the pool your family uses is dangerous, write a complaint to management or contact us to prevent a tragedy before it occurs. Call anytime 1 888 752-7474.