A five-year-old boy in Irvine is in critical condition after being found in the family’s backyard swimming pool. According to the Orange County Fire Authority, drowning accidents are the leading cause of injury/deaths among children under 5. More than 80 percent of the drownings occur in residential backyard pools or spas. It can happen quickly, without warning, without a splash and without a cry for help.
Recently, there has been an increase in pool drownings in Orange County. O.C. Fire Authority Capt. Steve Concialdi said that “We need to stop this trend before it gets worse. We’re not even into our summer months and we’re already into our 16th drowning call of the year, eight of those have been fatal.”
To make our swimming pools as safe as possible, please practice Irvine’s suggested pool safety guidelines, learn CPR, and teach your children how to swim.
Here are Irvine’s Swimming Pool Safety guidelines:
SECURE THE POOL AREA
Professionally install a pool fence that is five feet high around all four sides of the pool. The fence should not have openings. Tables, chairs, tree branches or other protrusions should be moved away from the fence to prevent a young child from getting over, under or through the fence.
Gates should be self-closing and self-latching, opening outward, away from the pool. The gate latch should be placed at the top of the gate and be inaccessible from the outside by small children.
All doors and windows leading to the pool should always be secured and locked at all times.
Additional “layers of protection” include safety covers, alarms on doors and motion-detection devices.
Safety equipment, such as a ring buoy and shepherd’s crook, should always be available.
ALWAYS HAVE ADULT SUPERVISION
Swim lessons, flotation devices and safety equipment should never be substitutes for proper adult supervision at all times. Twenty-five percent of all drowning victims have had swimming lessons.
NEVER leave children alone in or near the pool, even for a moment.
Assign an adult Water Watcher to supervise the pool/spa area, especially during social gatherings.
Babysitters and guardians should always be instructed about potential hazards in and around the pool.
If a child is missing, check the pool first.
WHAT YOU CAN DO
Set water safety rules for the whole family before entering the water, including:
a. Always enter the water feet first and look before you leap.
b. Swim with a buddy in a supervised area. Never swim alone.
c. Avoid entrapment: suction from pool and spa drains can trap a swimmer under water.
d. Do not use a pool or spa if there are broken or missing drain covers.
e. Do not let children sit or play on pool drains.
Keep toys away from the pool, when not in use, to prevent young children from falling in after a toy.
Keep a telephone outside the pool area. Post the 9-1-1 emergency number on the telephone.
Another great place to find swimming pool safety tips is here.
Swimming is fun and healthy, and we’re blessed here in Irvine with terrific weather for swimming much of the year. Now let’s do everything we can to protect our children and enjoy our swimming pools safely. Taking a few simple steps will save young lives.