A home swimming pool can be a wonderful place to relax with the family and enjoy life. Unfortunately, as the number of pools across America significantly increases, the number of accidental child drowning cases is also increasing significantly. Even worse is that, unlike in the movies or on TV, most of these deaths happen very quickly, silently and when parents thought that “everything was fine”. If you have a home pool this article will explain some common misconceptions about how and why children drown so that you can avoid this terrible tragedy and enjoy your swimming pool to its fullest.
Child Drownings only happen to irresponsible parents.
False! False! False! 70% preschool child drownings occur when one or both parents were nearby and caring for them. In fact, many were within a few yards of their child. The truth is, 86% of all drowning deaths occur in home pools.
Very few children die from drowning
False! Drowning is the #1 cause of accidental death among children ages 1-4, and 2nd leading cause of accidental death for kids ages 5-18 in the US. These stats include over 700 fatal pool drowning accidents every year.
A pool is safer than a car
False! A child 4 years old or younger is 14-times more likely to die by drowning than in an automobile accident. When you consider how much more time children spend in cars than in the pool, this statistic is shocking.
A pool is safer than a gun
False! When it comes to children, there is no comparison: a swimming pool is 100 times more deadly. People are well aware of the danger of guns, thus gun owners take the appropriate steps to keep guns away from children. Public attitudes towards pools, however, are much more casual because people simply do not know the facts. Much like you don’t leave a gun unattended – You can’t leave your pool unattended either. As a parent, if you let your guard down for an instant, a pool (or even a bucket of water) may steal your child’s life.
Drowning takes a long time to happen
False! Most parents report that it was less than 5 minutes between the time they saw their child last, until the time they where found in the pool. And think about this; in the time it takes to answer a phone call, a child can drown. That’s an incredibly short period of time.
Only a handful of children go to the hospital due to pool mishaps
False! 5000 children under 14 years of age are hospitalized for near-drownings each year. Even worse is that, of those 5000, 15% don’t make it and another 20% suffer severe and permanent disabilities. Also consider that, for every child who fatally drowns, another 4 are taken to the emergency room for near-drowning.
Drowning isn’t a significant risk for children
False! In 10 states drowning is the #1 cause of accidental death for a child 14 years old or younger, including Alaska, Arizona, California, Florida, Hawaii, Nevada, Oregon, Utah and Washington.
A pool safety fence is all you need to prevent a child drowning
False! Safety fences notoriously are left unlocked or open and, if they are, they don’t prevent anything. Plus, older children can climb a fence quite easily.
Most Families can recover from a child drowning incident
False! Sadly, over 90% of parents who lose a child to drowning end up getting a divorce and tearing their families apart even further.
Technology has made drowning prevention much better
True! As you can plainly see, there are plenty of misconceptions about child drownings and how they occur. However, today, technology has allowed for the creation of pool safety systems that work 24/7 to detect when a child is at actual drowning risk and send an alert immediately to parents and/or guardians nearby. One of these systems is the Coral manta 3000 that can detect within 15 seconds when someone is at risk in a pool, and never needs to be deactivated so that it’s always working.
We hope this article has given you some important insights into the horrible reality of child drowning. If you have questions about your own backyard pool, are interested in safe pool construction tips for your home or want a pool safety system that will prevent this tragedy from happening, please contact us today.