Pool Safety Prevents Accidental Drowning
It’s a parent’s worst nightmare. A day at the pool turns tragic, resulting in a young child’s death. According to the Daily Pilot, a three year old girl drowned in an Irvine community pool under the watchful eye of a caregiver. Apparently, she just “disappeared” and it took the caregiver and lifeguards approximately ten minutes to find her in a spa. Resuscitation efforts by the Irvine police and firefighters were ultimately unsuccessful; she was pronounced dead at a local trauma center.
Sadly, this is the fourth Orange County child to die in a pool accident this summer. The others included a two year old boy found in a residential pool, another boy of the same age in a home spa, and a three year old boy at a beach club.
Proper supervision would have saved these four children. In the most recent drowning, the child not only had a caregiver, but the pool had lifeguards. How is it that, with all this alleged supervision, a small child “disappears” for ten minutes? No answer will bring her, or the others, back. However, questions must be asked. This is important not only because the answers may well help the families deal with their loss, but also because they may enable the families to offset some of the financial costs of their loss, such as medical and funeral expenses. And finally, the answers may lead to changes in behavior and/or policy that will prevent such accidents from happening to others.
As obvious as it sounds, those watching children playing in or around water cannot take their eyes off of the children in their care. Drowning is a silent killer and an efficient, fast one as well. It can happen in just a few seconds. When you think about it, a trip to the bathroom, talking with those nearby or being on the phone, all can lead to a tragic loss.
The sad truth is that some who are responsible for childcare are not all that responsible. Negligent supervision can lead to loss of life. The law is clear that those who engage in negligent behavior must be held liable for their negligence. Caregivers and lifeguards have a duty to be vigilant. If investigations into such incidents of drowning show that the caregivers/lifeguards were not meeting the standard of care required by their positions, they and their employers can be made to pay for the damages they caused.
In addition to caregivers carefully performing their duties, there are other safety measures that can be put into place to prevent pool accidents. Water wings and lifejackets are excellent ways of keeping young children safe in the water. Gates around pools and spas to prevent access by children when no adults are present is another good way to prevent accidents.
As Ben Franklin said, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Our children are precious gifts and some “boo-boos” – like these pool accidents – can’t be fixed with a kiss. Better to save our kisses and Band-Aids for skinned knees and buy some water wings.