Louisville swim coach, firefighter on protecting children in the pool
One in five people who die from drowning are children 14 years of age or younger.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. – As the temperature rises more and more people put on swimsuits and head for the pool. But while summer means more fun in the sun, it can also be one of the most dangerous times of year for children.
About 10 people die each day from accidental drowning, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. One in five people who die from drowning is a child 14 years of age or under, and for every child who dies, five more receive emergency care for non-fatal drownings.
A Louisville toddler was rushed to hospital in critical condition on Sunday after being rescued from a residential swimming pool. Louisville Police said officers found a family member performing CPR on a two-year-old who had been removed from a swimming pool in southwest Jefferson County. The child, authorities said, was resuscitated.
“Unfortunately, it’s just this time of year that it’s going to happen, but it’s easily preventable,” said Jordan Yuodis, spokesperson for Jefferson County Fire.
Drowning is the fifth leading cause of unintentional injury death in the United States, and Yudois said it can happen anywhere.
“We have seen the little swimming pools explode that people have in their backyards, in swimming pools… in rivers or lakes,” Yuodis said. “You can drown anywhere.”
Amy Albiero, owner of the Safesplash Swimming School, spends her time teaching people as young as six months old how to swim. She defends swimming lessons for all ages, saying it’s a life skill that should be mandatory.
“Swimming is the only sport that can save your life,” said Albiero. “We know that participating in swimming lessons reduces your risk of drowning by 88%, which is a huge percentage.”
Albiero said parents can be distracted, saying the biggest precaution parents can take to prevent their child from drowning is to watch their child in or near the pool.
“When most children drown, they weren’t expected to be in a swimming pool or near a swimming pool,” Yuodis said. “Most of the time you have it where it is on a day like today, and someone takes their eyes off the pool for a second and that’s all it takes.”
Albiero also said flotation devices should be used and identified a part of the pool that parents should watch out for.
“In a pool that has steps, that goes down into the pool, that can be the most dangerous because that’s where a youngster can come down,” Albiero said. “If they take a step that brings them down, it will be a silent immersion, there will be no beating or screaming.”
Louisville council member Donna Purvis (D-5) recently teamed up with instructors from the YMCA to pilot a program that gives free swimming lessons to children in her district as public pools open over the week -end of Memorial Day. The lessons required parents to have some sort of role in the lessons.
“In the urban community, there are some serious statistics on urban child drowning,” said Denise Bentley, district legislative assistant. “It’s mainly because they don’t have access to swimming lessons, they don’t have access to swimming pools. And so we want to lower that statistic, if not erase that statistic.”
Yuodis said everyone is encouraged to be certified in CPR in the event of drowning.
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