By Fire Chief Sam DiGiovanna
The time of year where swimming pool drownings reach their peak.
Drowning incidents are dramatically on the rise both locally and nationally according to Fire Chief Sam DiGiovanna. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, just under 400 deaths a year on average are attributed to drowning in a swimming pool or at a spa. Sadly, of the total number of accidental drownings, approximately one in five victims are aged 14 or younger.
“No matter how the drowning happened or where it happened — pool, spa, or any other body of water — one thing was the same, the seconds that claimed their child’s life slid by silently, without warning, ‘it happens just like that and can never be brought back.’ Drowning is Preventable!” reminds Fire Chief Sam DiGiovanna.
Children drown without a sound. Drowning is a quiet event. There is no splashing, no screaming, and no noise at all. What can you do to prevent drowning incidents?
Always be on the lookout!
When kids are in or near water (including bathtubs), closely supervise them at all times. Because drowning happens quickly and quietly, adults watching kids in or near water should avoid distracting activities like playing cards, reading books, talking on the phone, and using alcohol or drugs.
Follow the ABC’s of water safety:
A = Adult Supervision. Assign an adult Water Watcher to keep their eyes on the water at ALL times.
B = Barriers such as fences, self-closing and self-latching gates, pool motion sensors, window and door alarms.
C = Classes. Parents and Caregivers should take CPR and First Aid, and swimming courses that are available for both children and adults.
The same goes for adults. Learn how to swim, and NEVER swim alone!
Learn CPR! Your CPR skills could save someone’s life in the time it takes for paramedics to arrive.
I cannot reiterate this. DO NOT take your eyes off the children in a pool or other water source. Not even for a second. If you need to go in, the kids come out and come with you – even for a few seconds.
Additionally, many drownings occur when children were not supposed to be in the pool. Make sure you have plenty of barriers such as alarms and self-closing gates to protect curious youngsters!