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Swimming Pool Accident Proves Fatal for Young Boy

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Two young brothers were pulled unconscious from a murky backyard pool Saturday, and one died later while the other was hospitalized in critical condition, according to a news report by the Associated Press posted on Newsday’s Web site.

The boys’ grandmother found the 5-year-old boy floating in the pool Saturday afternoon at the family home in the Walnut Park area south of downtown, sheriff’s officials said. The boys’ father pulled him out and tried to resuscitate him, before realizing his 3-year-old son was also missing. The father eventually found the younger boy, Jonathon Verdugo, just below the surface, but he and paramedics were unable to resuscitate him, sheriff’s officials said. Jonathan died Sunday and the 5-year-old, whose name was not released, was in critical condition, the sheriff’s department said.

A swimming pool in the yard can be very dangerous for children. The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests that you do not put a swimming pool in your yard until your children are older than 5 years. If you already have a pool, protect your children from drowning by doing the following:

• Never leave your children alone in or near the pool, even for a moment.
• You must put up a fence to separate your house from the pool. Most young children who drown in pools wander out of the house and fall into the pool. Install a fence at least 4 feet high around all 4 sides of the pool. This fence will completely separate the pool from the house and play area of the yard. Use gates that self-close and self-latch, with latches higher than your children’s reach.
• A power safety cover that meets the standards of the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) adds to the protection of your children but should not be used in place of the fence between your house and the pool. Even fencing around your pool and using a power safety cover will not prevent all drowning accidents.
• Keep rescue equipment (such as a shepherd’s hook or life preserver) and a telephone by the pool.
• Do not let your child use air-filled “swimming aids” because they are not a substitute for approved life vests and can be dangerous.
• Anyone watching young children around a pool should learn CPR and be able to rescue a child if needed. Stay within an arm’s length of your child.
• Remove all toys from the pool after use so children aren’t tempted to reach for them.
• After the children are done swimming, secure the pool so they can’t get back into it.

With summer approaching, parents must be extremely watchful. Swimming pools are definitely a hazar. Terrible tragedies can be prevented just by putting some safeguards in place and supervising children at all times especially when they are playing in the pool.

Drowning is the leading cause of accidental deaths in California for children 1 – 4 years old. California averages 44 swimming pool drownings a year of 1-4 year old children. Los Angeles, San Bernardino, Riverside, Orange, San Diego and Sacramento counties usually lead California in these drownings, in that order. The Los Angeles County city of West Covina leads L.A County in the number of per capita swimming pools. For about every six households in West Covina, there is a backyard swimming pool, nearly 5,500 pools. According to the Fire Department’s emergency response records there are 5 to 15 children drownings or near drownings every year with the city limits of West Covina.

Pool owners are generally held legally responsible for most of the drownings and near drownings of children other than there own, this includes relatives. Pool owners have been held criminally responsible as well.

I have handled more pool drowning cases than I want to remember; all of them young children. Some of them have been contributed to by incredibly negligent homeowners who I had no problem holding them accountable to grieving and outraged parents. Some of them have been just a momentary lapse of attention by otherwise caring, considerate, careful people who may have beat themselves up more than I did.

If you have questions about a drowning call me. If you have questions about where to get money for medical and rehabilitation expenses after a near drowning, call me. John Bisnar, 800-259-6373.

If you own a pool, keep in mind that if child other than your own winds up drowning or near drowning in your pool chances are you will be held liable. If someone else’s child gets injured in your backyard pool under your watch, you could be held liable for their injury or death. For more information about your rights, call me, John Bisnar, 800-259-6373.

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