Editor’s note; following the tragic death of 2-year-old drowning victim Zayden Wilson, Anza Valley Outlook felt it was important to remind readers how they can help to protect the ones they love from an accidental drowning. The following tips are courtesy of a variety of sources including the Center for Disease Control and Life Saver Pool Fence. If you own a pool or know of someone who does, please consider installing a fence around the pool. – Kim Harris, Managing Editor.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that “about one in five people who die from drowning are children 14 and younger.” Statistics show that an average of 10 people a day are victims of drowning and it is the fifth leading cause of unintentional death in the country.
Children between the ages of one and four are most at risk. According to the CDC, children in this age group is most likely to drown in home swimming pools. Drowning is responsible for more deaths among children these ages than any other cause except birth defects and fatal automobile accidents.
What can be done to help protect the little ones? There are many ways to improve child safety around pools.
Barriers are recommended and required by law in many states. An innovative company called Life Saver Pool Fence takes this to the next level. Their product is highly effective and designed with toddlers in mind. It consists of a see-through, removable, lockable and self-latching mesh fencing made of the highest-grade materials.
Their webpage advises: “Drowning happens quickly and without warning. There is no cry for help. Seventy-seven percent of the children who drowned had been seen five minutes or less before being missed and subsequently discovered in the pool.” Supervision is paramount. But Life Saver Pool Fence takes it a step further. They suggest “layers” of protection, beginning with keeping an eye on the child.
Access doors and gates must have high, out-of-reach locks, adding another “layer” of safety. Then alarms installed on these access points, pool alarms and even personal immersion alarms on the toddlers can also help. Water survival training for the child and CPR and rescue training for the adults and older children is also highly recommended.
The CDC adds that floating pool toys (“water wings,” “noodles,” or inner-tubes) are not safety devices and should not be used as such.
Life Saver Pool Fence’s website goes on to say, “Pool fencing is the only layer of protection that provides a physical barrier between your home and the pool. If you wouldn’t own a car without seat belts, do not own a pool without a fence. Pool fences should be at least 5 feet high in California and have a self-closing, self-latching gate that opens away from the pool. Removable safety fencing has proven, over the past 40 years, to be the most practical and effective barrier against pool drowning short of putting up a permanent rail fence.”
Water Safety USA (a group of national nonprofit and governmental organizations dedicated to public education on drowning prevention and water safety) adds to empty all tubs, buckets, containers and wading pools immediately after use and remove toys and cover hot tubs.
While every accidental drowning reverberates throughout the family, friends and community, the tragedy of a child or toddler’s tiny life ended is one that hits the hardest. The people of Anza will not forget little Zayden and the suffering of his family. Our collective hearts go out to them. It is hoped that the information presented here will help to prevent any other devastating accidents from occurring.
For more information on Life Saver Pool Fence and to download a copy of their “Safety Guide for Parents,” visit www.poolfence.com/pool-safety-guide/.
Additional information may be found at the CDC’s website at: www.cdc.gov/homeandrecreationalsafety/water-safety/waterinjuries-farctsheet.html
Water Safety USA can be reached online by visiting, www.watersafetyusa.org/.