In Clark County, Southern Nevada, residential and community pools are places where families and friends can relax, soak in the sunshine, and enjoy the juxtaposition of cool water against the blinding summer heat. The kids cannonball and create tidal waves of frivolous laughter, and for the whole of the community, it seems that all of the day’s stresses and worries seem to evaporate like the waves of heat rising from the concrete. Yet, every year children stumble through their curiosity into these pools and turn tides of communal bliss and connection into troubled waters.
In this article, we will examine nature of these occurrences, the statistics of submersions themselves, how these happenings can be prevented, and what you can do to make these areas a safer place for your children.
Every Parent’s Worst Fear
It goes without saying, that nothing arouses more fear in the heart of a parent than the thought of harm befalling their children. We live in secure times with advanced technologies that allow us to monitor the locations of our children if they get lost, we have neighbors who look out for us, and we have built safe neighborhoods in order live our lives with a blithe demeanor; however, some children still find their way into the clutches of submersion without parental supervision.
While these allegations are terrifying and heartbreaking, they are real happenings that make their way into our scope of vision again and again.
In Clark County, the majority of drownings occur in children between the ages of 1-4 years old. In 2016, the total number of both non-fatal and fatal submersions was 50, with 88% being between 0-4 years old; 28% of which were in public pools and 72% of which were in residential pools. In 2017, the total number of submersions increased to 63; 76% of which were between the ages of 0-4 years old, 43% of which were in public pools, and 57% of which were in residential pools.
Why is it these numbers are rising?
While we may not be able to pinpoint the reason as to why these tragedies are increasing in frequency, we can certainly do our best as guardians and human beings to look after one another. The numbers are nerve racking for both parents and non-parents alike, however, what we can do is further educate the children of our community on the importance of water safety and supervise them carefully when they are in close proximity to bodies of water—no matter how deep or tumultuous.
Preventing Submersions from becoming Drownings
So, the question remains: “How can we as a community and as parents prevent this harm from befalling our children?”
According to Clark County Drowning Prevention, there are three things that we can do as a community to prevent more submersions: patrol, protect, and prepare.
- Patrol: A drowning can happen in a matter of seconds. As such, it is important to designate an adult(s) to keeping watch over the children while they are at play, as well as teaching the kids to vacate the pool in the event that an adult is not present to supervise. Hiring a certified lifeguard can also be a worthwhile investment to ensure the safety of your children just in-case something goes awry.
- Protect: If your concerns can not be put to rest through adult supervision, then there is always the option of installing a pool-side fence to create a protective barrier between your kids and the pool. These fences are recommended to be at least 60-inches high and they are even equipped with safety locks to prevent your children from swiping up the key and going for a dip while you are away.
- Prepare: When it comes to making sure that you are well equipped to handle a heart-pounding situation such as a submersion, it is of the utmost importance that you enroll your children in swimming courses so that can navigate in the water well and know what to do in the case that they feel unsure of their own safety. It is also smart to make sure that the designated Water Watchers are certified in CPR, that their are life jackets on-site, and that toy boxes are placed far enough away from the pool so that they are not tempted to enter the pool unsupervised.
Be a Part of the Initiative
A horrifyingly unfortunate truth is that sometimes bad things happen. Tragedy can come knocking on our doorsteps at a moment’s notice before we can even blink, but this doesn’t mean that we can’t change the fabric of our community’s education when it comes to water safety and ensuring the well-being of our children.
Be a part of the change through proper education, accountability, proper supervision, and taking the appropriate safety precautions in order to ensure the safety of your community. We can’t change the past, but we can most certainly be the change now that echoes into the waves of the future.