The summer months increase the risk of childhood drowning. The weather is at its warmest, and many people in the San Diego area enjoy swimming at the beach and in pools throughout the area. However, it is extremely important to keep a close eye on children when they are near the water to prevent drowning accidents. According to arecent article from San Diego News 6, the last week of August saw six near-fatal child drownings in San Diego County.
According to Oseana Bratton,
One-year-old Gabriel Clark, his four-year-old sister, and the children’s nanny were swimming in a neighbor’s pool in Oceanside. According to the article, “it was just another day for his parents, both of them at work, until his mom Karen got a heart-stopping text.” The nanny texted Gabriel’s mother with a “terrifying text” that simply said “please call me.” The nanny had placed Gabriel in a flotation device—“the kind where his feet were in the water.” Karen told San Diego News 6 that the nanny reportedly “turned away for just a few seconds to help four-year-old Mia jump into the pool.”
In the brief moment during which the nanny turned her attention away from young Gabriel, he “had just tried to get out, so he wasn’t totally out, but his head was submerged,” according to the victim’s mother. When the nanny removed Gabriel from the water, “he was blue and not breathing.” The nanny performed CPR on Gabriel. When emergency medical responders arrived, Gabriel was breathing on his own again.
Though Gabriel was okay in the end, secondary drowning can be a serious—and often deadly—result of a near-drowning. As a precaution, Gabriel stayed in the pediatric intensive care unit at Rady Children’s Hospital overnight.
Unintentional Drownings: Keeping Kids Safe
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately ten people suffer fatal drowning injuries each day in the U.S. About 20 percent of those victims are kids under the age of 15. The CDC emphasizes that drowning is the fifth-leading cause of unintentional injury death in our country. Those figures do not include people who die in boating-related accidents.
To prevent unintentional drownings, it is important to know the risk factors:
- Males are much more likely than females to die from drowning. In fact, about 80 percent of fatal drowning victims are males.
- Children between the ages of one and four years old are at greatest risk of drowning. About one-third of accident related fatalities of children in that age group are caused by drowning.
According to the CDC, important prevention measures include the following:
- Learn to swim, or ensure that your children have swimming skills before you go near or into the water;
- Learn CPR;
- Wear a lifejacket or other flotation device;
- Always make sure children are supervised when they are in the water or around water;
- Teach children to use the buddy system when in the pool or at the beach;
- Always avoid drinking alcohol before swimming.
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