Water and Pool Safety
The Riverside County EMS Agency is dedicated to preventing unintentional injuries to children in our county. The paramedics, fire fighters, law enforcement personnel, and hospital staff who work in our county know all too well the tragic results of a child's death from drowning. Childhood drowning can be eliminated because we know that childhood drowning is 100% preventable
Please read the following information and make the necessary changes before a drowning occurs to someone you love:
- Drowning is the leading cause of unintentional or accidental injury-related death to children ages 1-4 years old in Riverside County.
- 86% of all drowning and near-drowning incidents occur in backyard pools or spa/Jacuzzi.
- There are over one million backyard pools in California without safety features because they were built before the Swimming Pool Safety Act of 1998. One could be in your neighbourhood.
- Drowning is a quiet event - no splashing, no screaming, and no noise at all.
- A child can; drown in less than 1 inch (just enough to cover mouth and nose) of water, lose consciousness in 30 seconds or less, have irreversible brain damage after 4 – 6 minutes or survive a drowning with severe brain damage requiring life-long medical care.
- Most children under the age of five have no fear of water and no concept of death. Water is associated with play.
LAYERS OF PROTECTION FOR POOLS
- FENCING: Enclose your pool with four-sided, non-climbable fencing at least 5 feet high. Isolation fencing around a pool or spa is the best protection. If possible, do not use your house as one of the four sides.
- FENCE GATES: All gates to the pool or spa should be self-closing and self-latching.
- DOOR & WINDOW ALARMS: All windows and doors that lead to the pool area should have alarms that alert adults when they are opened.
- POOL COVERS: If a pool cover is used, make sure it has been approved as a safety device.
- SUPERVISE! Never leave a child alone near a pool or spa, bathtub, pond, toilet, bucket of liquid, or any standing water.
- Assign an adult Water Watcher to keep their eyes on the water at all times.
- Do not allow children to play near the pool or spa.
- Place toilets lids down or install safety latches on the toilet lids to prevent toddlers from opening and playing in the toilet.
- Empty wading pools immediately after use and store upside-down.
- Floaties, inflatable water wings and water toys are not water safety devices and should never be used for that purpose.
- The best safety option is a Personal Floatation Device (PDF) or Life Vest. Only purchase a life vest that has a “Coast Guard approved” tag or stamp on the inside of the vest.
- Never rely on devices or swimming lessons to protect children.
- Never drink alcoholic beverages before or during swimming or supervising children.
- Never assume your child is “drown proof” because they have taken swim lessons.
- Swimming lessons should be on-going, from a well recognized program with staff that are certified in basic CPR, water rescue and first aid.
- Learn CPR & First Aid
- Know your neighborhood and the homes your child visits. Is there a pool? Is it properly protected? If the children will be swimming, who will be supervising them?
- Learn how to swim and learn proper rescue techniques.
- Keep rescue equipment at near the pool. Do NOT use air-filled swimming aids (such as water rings) in place of life preservers. These devices can give parents and children a false sense of security, which may increase the risk of drowning.
- Keep a portable telephone and emergency phone numbers nearby.
IF A WATER EMERGENCY OCCURS
- Pull the child from the water and place on his or her back
- Check for breathing; clear mouth and nose of any obstructions
- Instruct another adult to call for emergency help
- Begin rescue breathing or CPR as needed until the child is revived or help arrives.
Water & Pool Safety Organizations
- Riverside County Children's Injury Prevention Network | (800) 774-7237
- Riverside County Injury Prevention Services | (951) 358-7171
- Riverside County Building & Safety Department | (951) 955-1800
- To report an unsafe pool call | (951) 955-6713
- American Red Cross | (951) 328-0013
- U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission | www.cpsc.gov
- Safe Kids of Inland Empire | www.safekids.org
- National Drowning Prevention Alliance | www.ndpa.org | http://ndpa.org/la-nueva-ndpa-org-en-espanol-si/
Inflatable and Above Ground Pools: Dangers of drowning
A new warning from the American Academy of Pediatrics cautions about child downing dangers and risks of portable, inflatable and above ground pools found in backyards. NBC's Tom Costello reports.
Watch the Report