It’s not yet summer, and Riverside County has already had four drownings this year; all boys under the age of five. Near-drowinings are also up. In the prior year, the County had a total of seven drownings.
“We’re very concerned,” said Victoria Young, a nurse with the county health department. “We definitely have seen a big surge.”
In California, drowning is the leading cause of death for children younger than five, with more than 80 percent occurring in backyard pools. In this year’s Riverside drownings, two involved children who exited the house through the doggy-door, and the other two involved murky, unmaintained pools.
According to studies, there are more than a million pools in the state without any safety features such as a gate, fence, or net. And officials point out that such safety features are not entirely child-proof. Ultimately, officials say, the only real drowning prevention device is adult supervision.