“Orange County has a problem,” according to Captain Steve Concialdi, a spokesman with the Orange County Fire Authority. “We’re one of the leading counties in the nation for drowning incidents.”
Drowning is the leading cause of accidental injury and death in children under the age of ﬁve and the second leading cause of death in children under the age of 14.
More than 80 percent of these drownings occur in residential backyard pools or spas. Drowning can happen quickly, without warning, without a splash and without a cry for help. Already this year, the county has seen 15 fatal drownings. In 2015, 50 people fatally drowned in Orange County.
These deaths are preventable!
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.
Here are the ABCs of pool safety:
Active supervision: make sure to actively watch children in water. Adults should also make sure that someone is watching them or swimming with them. Don’t swim alone!
Barriers: make sure pools have a tall-enough fence to keep children from wandering in.
Classes: learn to swim, and learn first aid and CPR.
The City of Irvine’s Learn-To-Swim Program offers lessons for all swimming abilities. Classes are available for infants through adults.
Click here to view details about Learn-to-Swim levels.
- Lessons are offered in two or four week sessions.
- Please check schedules for dates.
- Winter & Spring session classes are offered Monday/Wednesday or Tuesday/Thursday for 25 or 40 minutes.
- Summer session classes are offered Monday-Thursday for 25 minutes or Monday/Wednesday or Tuesday/Thursday for 40 minutes.
- Duckling classes are two weeks on Monday/Wednesday or Tuesday/Thursday for 25 minutes.
- Adult and Teen classes are offered Monday/Wednesday or Tuesday/Thursday and are 40 minutes.
- Saturday session classes are 25 minutes for children; 40 minutes for Adults.
- Private instruction is 25 minutes.
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:
- Always enter the water feet first and look before you leap.
- Swim with a buddy in a supervised area. Never swim alone.
- Avoid entrapment: suction from pool and spa drains can trap a swimmer under water.
- Do not use a pool or spa if there are broken or missing drain covers.
- 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.
Now let’s make Irvine America’s Safe Swimming Capital!