A 14-month old girl nearly drowned in the backyard pool of a Menifee home Sept. 5, according to this news report by the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department. The report states that the girl’s father, Scott Stevens, tried to perform CPR on the girl, who had reportedly lost consciousness and turned blue following the swimming pool accident.
A Sheriff’s deputy helped the father with CPR and together they were able to resuscitate the girl and transport her to an area hospital. The toddler is now said to be in stable condition. Officials say the girl had access to the pool because one of her older siblings left the swimming pool gate open. That child apparently opened the gate by climbing up on a box to reach the gate latch.
I’m relieved that this toddler survived what could have been a fatal swimming pool accident. Assuming that this report is accurate, this incident only goes to show how resourceful even very young children can be and the measures we have to take as parents to keep our children safe. If that child had been a neighbor’s child that had fallen into the pool, the homeowner could have been held financially responsible for the near drowning. Medical expenses in a near drowning incident could easily run into millions of dollars. Nearly every summer we represent a family whose loved one drowned because of the negligence of a homeowner, caretaker or lifeguard.
Los Angeles County has more than twice as many near drowning incidents – more than 200 a year – as San Diego County and Orange County combined. Los Angeles, San Diego and Orange counties together account for half of all near-drowning incidents in California. These near-drowning accidents are extremely dangerous because they cut off the oxygen supply to the brain, which can leave the child with lifelong brain injuries.
The key to preventing these tragedies is to ensure that there is ALWAYS more than adequate supervision when children are playing. It doesn’t take a child more than a few seconds to find his or her way to a backyard pool. It is important to exercise extreme caution during any type of activity involving water. The US Consumer Product Safety Commission offers comprehensive information about backyard pool safety and how you can better protect your little ones from these types of accidents: http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/pubs/5101.pdf.