A boy in a children’s swimming pool. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Last weekend, a 3-year-old boy was swimming in a community pool in Irvine among several adults and other children and under the supervision of his mother yet still managed to silently slip underwater. Less than two hours later, a 6-year-old girl who reportedly knew how to swim was left unattended in a backyard pool and was found at the bottom of it. Fortunately, neither of the children died, though the girl remains in critical condition. The near-drownings highlighted what a swift and silent killer drowning can be for children.
Drowning is the leading cause of death for children ages 1 to 4, with drowning accounting for 30 percent of the deaths suffered by children due to unintentional injury in 2009, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Among children aged 14 and younger, drowning remains the second-leading cause of unintentional injury-related deaths behind traffic collisions.
Emergency responders have attended to nine near-drownings and eight fatal drownings already this year, reported the Orange County Register. By this time last year, 10 drowning deaths and nine near-drownings had occurred, contributing to a total of 37 fatal drownings and 73 near-drownings. Adults swimming in a pool by themselves accounted for 60 percent of the incidents.
Protection: Pool and spa owners should install layers of barrier protection between children and the water, such as alarms on the entryways leading to the water; a non-climbable, five-foot fence around the pool; self-closing and self-latching gates; and pool safety covers, preferably power-operated ones.
Supervision: Children not only lack a fear of death and understanding of the dangers of water, but they are also attracted to its shimmering surfaces. As the near-drowning incident in Irvine illustrated, a child can drown in seconds and even while under adult supervision. Parents and caregivers should not take their eyes off of swimming children for even a second, regardless of their swimming proficiency.
Preparation: Learn CPR and infant/child safety and insist anyone over 14 years of age in the household and all caregivers receive such training. Keep rescue equipment, such as a lifesaving ring, shepherd’s hook, and CPR sign, near the pool.
For additional resources on drowning prevention and the rights of drowning victims and their families, please call 888-752-7474 or contact us online.
All of us at Allen, Flatt, Ballidis, and Leslie would like to wish you and your family a fun and safe summer.