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  • Heather Murray

Parents Preventing Childhood Drownings presents Sunday Survival Stories: All Water

Every Sunday, we will share a story of a non-fatal 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!

On May 13th, a 6 year old boy in Pennsylvania became a hero when he pulled his 9 month old brother out of their family fish tank during a drowning.

We share this Sunday Survival Story to really show that a drowning can happen anywhere, in all types of water. We talk a lot about pool safety, beach safety, tub safety, but we really mean to be talking about water safety. ALL WATER SAFETY.

To help prevent drownings, we need to change our mindset around all water. Where is the water? Do we need the water? How are we interacting with the water? What layers of protection are in place for the water? These questions should be asked any time we go to a new place or experience water, even non-swim water.

So where is the water? In this case, a fish tank. Unintended swimming water. Easily looked over and viewed as a non-drowning hazard, but it’s still water. Do we need the water? If you want pets like fish/turtles, yes you need the water. If you don’t have pets requiring water filled tanks, get rid of the water as soon as it’s no longer needed. How are we interacting with the water? Are we teaching our kids to view only or are we giving them responsibility to go along with the fish tank? Are they responsible for feeding the fish? Being shown to chase the fish around with nets? Moving animals from the main tank to a temporary one for cleaning? Have you specifically discussed with them that this water is for animals only and not for people to enter? What layers of protection are in place? This article states that the fish tank was located on the floor with a plastic gate around it. While the plastic gate was a layer of protection, this tragedy shows that one layer of protection was not enough. I don’t know if the tank location was a temporary fix or the long term plan, or if it was temporary while the main tank was cleaned. I am positive the parents did not realize that they were placing their kids into a potential drowning situation. They were probably trying to solve an issue of where to put this new pet and new tank. They tried to protect with the gate, but because their main focus was not on seeing the water, and drowning risk, they didn’t put enough layers of protection into place. Take a look around your home today. Where is water? Not just pools, not just tubs. All water. All water presents a drowning hazard. Ask your water safety questions to keep your family safe.

Where is the water? Do we need the water? How are we interacting with the water? What layers of protection are in place? Have fun, be safe, and prevent drownings in all water!

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