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  • Heather Murray

Parents Preventing Childhood Drownings presents Sunday Survival Stories: Pool Parties

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, while one of survival, is still very heart-breaking. We join the family of Naomi Tseggai for a celebration of her 9th birthday. Naomi survived a drowning experience in 2019 which has left her unable to eat, speak, or walk. Where did it happen? At another birthday party- a pool party for her best friend.

Let’s talk pool parties. Every year, many children and adults celebrate their birthday with a pool party. If you are someone considering this, please know of and prepare for the many dangers associated with the water. Make sure lifeguards are on duty and have an adequate number of lifeguards for number of guests present. Encourage parents to stay. Sometimes parties have a tendency to be a place to drop kids off for a few hours of fun, but when it comes to the water, the more adults around to help be water guardians the better. You can never have too many eyes on the water. Talk about the rules before anyone enters the pool. Even though it’s a party, you can still talk about safety rules- from no running to floating if you get tired to making sure you have a buddy and an adult knows where you are. Have designated swim times. If the majority of the guests are no longer swimming, make everyone get out of the pool or ensure designated adults are still watching those enjoying the water.

Now let’s talk games and toys. Toys should always be removed from the water. They are inviting to children and lead to drownings every year as kids try to return to the water for more play. Also be careful of what kind of games children are playing in the water. This story involves sucking helium out of a balloon. Activities like this or that involve holding one’s breath for long periods of time can also lead to drowning. Make sure children are taking adequate breaks and not getting too tired while swimming.

Pool parties are a popular but dangerous way to celebrate birthdays. Have fun, be safe, and prevent drownings!

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