Near-Drowning Incidents On The Rise with San Diego Children

San Diego County Health and Human Services reports that the number of children who have been rescued from private pools after nearly drowning, is up 32% from 2019 to 2020.

49 rescues occurred in private pools, beaches, and bay between March and July 2020, compared to 37 in 2019 and 33 in 2018. Over the past three years during the same five months, nine children and babies drowned.

The cause of the increase may have to do with the work-at-home situation many parents are dealing with during the pandemic. Children have access and permission to play in pools at their home where they might not have when their parents worked offsite. The challenge is that parents may be busy and distracted with work and not able to monitor their children as closely as they should while in a pool.

In a recent announcement, Dr. Wilma Wooten, M.D., M.P.H., County public health officer said, “Parents and guardians must take the necessary precautions to keep these incidents from happening. Children who swim in pools at home are at higher risk of drowning, especially as parents struggle to supervise their children while continuing to work at home through the summer months because of the novel coronavirus."

The County of San Diego shared these Water Safety Tips:

General Water Safety:

  • Teach children to swim
  • Never leave a child unsupervised in or near water
  • Avoid alcohol
  • Learn cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR)

Residential Swimming Pools and Spas:

  • Install a fence around the pool and hot tub. Many jurisdictions have detailed laws regarding how this is done.
  • Install alarms
  • Remove toys. On the deck they can be a tripping hazard, or in the water they can attract children.
  • Beware of drains
  • Follow all swimming rules posted at swimming areas
  • Keep emergency equipment handy

Natural Bodies of Water:

  • Always swim with a buddy
  • Swim only in areas that have a lifeguard
  • Wear a life jacket
  • Enter water feet first for the initial descent
  • Never leave children unobserved, even for short periods of time

Toilets, Bathtubs and Buckets:

  • Keep the bathroom door closed
  • Supervise bath time
  • Shut toilet lids
  • Store buckets safely

Photo Credit: Getty Images

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