The Consumer Product Safety Commission, an independent U.S. government agency tasked with regulating the sale and manufacture of more than 15,000 different consumer products, compiled information based upon medial reports regarding child drownings in pools and spas during the summer of 2012. One-hundred thirty-seven children under the age of fifteen years drowned in a pool or spa during the traditional summer swimming seas from Memorial Day to Labor Day during 2012.
In addition, one-hundred sixty-eight children, aged fifteen or younger, required emergency responses for near-fatal incidents in pools or spas during the same period. Specifically, during the summer of 2012, California had ten children under the age of fifteen drown in a pool or spa. While these figures cover only the summer of 2012, it is important to remember that with many indoor community pools, hotel pools and outdoor pools in warm-weather areas like southern California, the danger has does not necessarily end with summer. Typically, there are 390 pool or spa-related drownings that occur each year for children younger than fifiteen, based on statistics from the last few years. About 5,200 pool or spa-related emergency department treated submersion injuries occur each year for children younger than fifteen.
The Consumer Product Safety Commissions statistics indicate that fifty-four of the child drownings occurred soon after the children left an adult who was in their immediate vicinity. In addition, thirty-one children drowned despite the presence of others at the pool.
Young children and toddlers are particularly vulnerable to drowning, at least one hundred of the children that drowned during the summer of 2012 were younger than five. In fact, drowning is the leading cause of unintentional death among children one to four years of age.
In order to reduce child drownings, the Consumer Product Safety Commission provides information that parents, caregivers and pool owners should take to ensure that children, and adults, stay safe around pools and spas:
**Stay close, be alert and watch children in an around the pool. Never leave children unattended in a pool or spa and always watch children closely around all bodies of water. Make sure to teach children basic water safety tips and keep children away from pool drains, pipes and other openings.
**Learn and practice water safety skills. Every family member should know how to swim. It is also a good idea for family members to perform CPR on both children and adults.
**Have appropriate equipment for your pool or spa. This includes pool fencing, a lockable safety cover for spas, proper drain covers to avoid entrapment, and lifesaving equipment such as life rings and a reaching pole.
In the event that a child is injured or deceased, due to the negligence of a pool owner or other supervising adult, you may be entitled to a recovery. While no amount of money will fully compensate you for a child’s injury or death, it is important to make sure that the negligent person responsible for your child’s safety is held responsible.