Parents Preventing Childhood Drowning Presents: Sunday Survival Stories: Pool First
Every Sunday, we will share a story of a non-lethal drowning, discuss where things went wrong, and give some pointers on how to prevent it from happening to the people you love. Thankfully, these stories have happy endings for those involved, but sadly, we lose too many people to drowning every year. We hope examining these real-life stories help put the dangers of water into perspective and help you introduce various principles of water safety to your family!
Today’s story comes from an everyday neighborhood, just like yours. Mom Jennifer Duffee dropped her 3yr old son Linkin off to spend the night at his grandparents’ house and left without a second thought to his safety. Later that day, she got the phone call no parent wants to get- Linkin had drown.
What a terrifying experience for all involved. How do we prevent it from happening to another child? How do you prevent it from being your family? Let’s take a look.
It is very common for children to go missing even with parents/guardians actively watching them during the day. Just a small lapse in supervision, and a child can wander off and find danger. Children are naturally drawn to water, so any time a child is missing, nearby water sources like the tub, pool, or open water should be checked first. A big red flag in this story is the pool toy that was left in the water even when people were not swimming. To children, toys mean playtime, not danger. After every swim session, all toys should be removed from the pool and stored somewhere away from the water. Pools should be fenced off so unintentional entry without adult supervision cannot occur.
Another factor in this drowning may have been a lack of communication. Because the pool belonged to the neighbor, and not the grandparents themselves, there may not have been discussion on pool safety. This is why we need to always be aware of potential water hazards and discuss water safety on a regular basis. There was no intention for the family to be swimming that day, and yet they still experienced a drowning. Take time today to look around your home and places you frequently visit with your children. Where all do they have access to the water? Talk today about not entering water without an adult, no matter what kind of water it is!
According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), in the United States, approximately 10 fatal drowning deaths happen per day, 2 of which are children. And for every child that we lose to drowning, another 5 are sent to emergency care for nonfatal drowning related injuries. Drowning effects so many people; we need to learn to respect the water and the dangers it presents. Thanks to a neighbor’s son who remembered seeing Linkin’s interest in the pool toy, Linkin is on his way to recovery, and we hope you can use his story to prevent drowning happening to someone you love.
When a child is missing, always remember to check the water first. Have fun, be safe, and be aware of dangers!