Last June, as temperatures were warming and summer was nearing its start, Olympic skier Bode Miller and his family experienced the unthinkable when their 19-month-old daughter accidentally drowned in a swimming pool in Southern California.
Emergency officials arrived on the scene and attempted to resuscitate Emeline Miller, but she succumbed to her injuries the next day at an Orange County hospital. The toddler’s death is currently under investigation, according to Orange County sheriff’s spokeswoman Carrie Braun.
According to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, accidental or unintentional drowning is the leading cause of death in children ages 1 to 4. It’s the second leading cause for ages 5 to 9, and the fourth leading cause for kids ages 10 to 14.
While cooling off in the neighborhood pool is a great way to have fun and pass time in the summer, it’s important for parents and guardians to remember these helpful tips the next time they’re out for a swim.
#1 Be Vigilant
When swimming with young children, constant supervision is a must. There should always be an adult present and assigned with the sole duty of monitoring the pool for emergencies during use. If it’s believed a child is missing, always check the pool first as every minute is crucial in an accidental drowning.
#2 Invest in Safety Equipment
For families who own a home swimming pool, a tall fence with self-closing doors and self-latching gates are imperative in preventing drownings. A lockable pool cover can also help.
Other tips to keep the pool area safe include removing ladders and chairs that can be used to access or climb into the pool, and utilizing alarm systems to alert families of a potential emergency. Types of alarm systems for pools include threshold alarms, surface wave sensors, subsurface disturbance sensors, and even wristband alarms that can be worn on a child’s wrist.
#3 Set Pool Rules
As with most activities, an established set of rules may help prevent accidents from happening in the first place. Rules such as no diving in shallow waters, keeping toys away from the pool area when not in use, and no swimming alone or without adult supervision are a great foundation for pool safety.
#4 Be Aware of Surroundings
Occasionally, when having a great time with your family and friends, being aware of surroundings may be an afterthought, but during pool time, this tip is very important. Slippery pool decks and messy pool areas may cause slip-and-falls or other injuries. Activities such as running around the pool area or diving in a “no dive zone” should also be avoided.
#5 Enroll Children in Swimming Lessons
The completion of a swimming program is a fun and educational way to introduce water safety to your family. It’s important, however, to remember swimming lessons are not a replacement for proper adult supervision. Children can be enrolled in swim classes as early as six months old to learn water skills and as early as about 3 to 4 years old for formal swimming lessons.
Terry Bryant Helps Drowning Victims & Their Families
Maintaining a safe environment around pool areas falls under the responsibility of the homeowner. When pool safety is ignored, awful things can happen. If you or a loved one have been involved in a swimming pool accident, contact the team of attorneys at Terry Bryant Accident & Injury Law toll free at 1 (800) 444-5000.