Summer Safety – The Hidden Danger in Your Backyard
Accidental drownings are a preventable tragedy that can strike any family. With the right precautions, a backyard swimming pool can be an endless source of happiness, exercise and recreation.
A Young Family’s Story
It’s hard not to enjoy the long, lazy days of summer, even with temperatures peaking at 95 degrees in the shade. With back to school around the corner, Suzie and her family were making the most of their remaining vacation time with their kids. They had recently purchased a new home with a sparkling in-ground swimming pool, and were just about all settled in and wanted to invite all their neighbors and their children to come over to a housewarming BBQ and swim party.
“I’m so excited for the party!” exclaimed Aidan, their six-year-old son. He began running around the kitchen. His three-year-old sister Shannon was close behind him.
“No running in the house!” Suzie said, shaking her head and smiling to her husband Mike. “I’m excited too,” she said. “It’s just two days away before we celebrate our new beginning here.”
Over the next two days, Suzie and Mike worked nonstop on finishing up last-minute touches around the house, getting their backyard decorated, preparing food, games and entertainment for their guests.
On the day of the party, Suzie and Mike were a bit stunned by the number of guests that arrived. They now lived in a master planned community, and had extended invites to their whole street. In their last neighborhood, people were friendly but mostly kept to themselves. It was a pleasant surprise to have such a showing for their welcoming gathering, albeit a bit overwhelming.
“Mike, we need to get more ice and I think another sandwich party platter,” Suzie said about halfway through the party. Mike nodded and headed out to the grocery store around the corner.
Suzie sighed as she tried to keep an eye on all the guests. Some of them were inside the kitchen around the center island with her as she was chopping up more fruit salad, more were congregated around the grill, and others were scattered about on the patio and backyard.
Children were playing all around, varied in age from about three to ten. Suzie and Mike had put in a nice little wooden playset with a sandbox, and some of the younger children were there, while the older ones were in the pool. They had decided to add a small water slide, which was appearing to be a big hit.
Suzie wanted to be a good hostess, but it was impossible to have enough meet and greet time with everyone. All in all, she could tell her guests were having a good time and figured eventually she would get to know them all better.
By the end of the night and the last guests finally had gone home, Suzie and Mike collapsed on the couch together.
“That was fun but exhausting,” he said, rubbing Suzie’s shoulders. “I agree,” she said. “I didn’t expect such a turnout!”
Mike flipped on the TV and they took a few minutes to relax together before cleaning up.
The last Suzie and Mike remembered, Aidan had been put to bed and Shannon had fallen asleep on a lounge in the sitting room off the patio. They didn’t want to wake her immediately, knowing she could get into a grumpy, sleepy tantrum and would be even harder to put down in her own bed. They figured they would clean up a bit then take her off to bed.
Unbeknownst to them, while they turned their backs for those few short minutes to watch TV, Shannon had awoken and slipped into the backyard unsupervised.
She had been watching the older children, including her brother Aiden, play on the water slide and wanted to go in the pool too. Suzie had said no, she and daddy were too busy today to go in swimming with her, and would go with her another time when they were not having a party. She pouted but had been ok playing in the sandbox with another little girl.
After their TV show ended, Suzie got up to start washing up. She let out a blood-curdling scream as she glanced out the back patio doors on her way to the kitchen. She saw Shannon’s tiny body floating face-down in their pool.
Mike raced outside and dove into the water, with Suzie grief-stricken and paralyzed at the sight. Aidan woke up from her scream and soon began crying when he saw his sister motionless on the pool deck, their father desperately trying to perform CPR on her.
Suzie snapped to her motherly instincts seconds later and called 911, but there was no resuscitating their young daughter. At only three years old, Shannon had not yet learned to swim and had drowned in the pool.
This tragic accident caused deep sorrow in the young family, but their neighbors amazingly brought them boundless support helping them find healing after a loved one’s death. One neighbor, a counselor, was specially trained in how to talk to children about death, and provided Aidan with much-needed PTSD therapy after the death.
The police later referred the family to us to clean the pool after the investigation.
How Common a Problem is Accidental Drowning?
According to the CDC, about ten people die daily from accidental drowning, and about 20% of those are children under 14 years of age. Children ages one to four have the highest drowning rates.
What Can You Do to Prevent Accidental Drowning
- Teach Your Children to Swim. Formal swim lessons have been proven to help reduce the risk of accidental drowning, particularly in young children.
- Construct Barriers Around Your Pool. Many states require homeowners to have proper safety fencing around their pools. However, even if yours does not, you may wish to install an enclosure, especially with young children. Pool covers can also help prevent accidental drownings.
- Put Away All Toys After Use. Inflatable rafts or other toys can be inviting to a child, so remove any floating devices that may cause a child to stray towards an unsupervised pool.
- Always, Always Supervise. Even if your child knows how to swim, do not leave them unattended in a swimming pool.
- Avoid Slip Zones. If possible, choose a pool deck coating of a slip-resistant, weather-proof material. After any type of cleaning, make sure the pool deck is free of any spills or substances that could lead to accidental falls into the pool.
We are Advanced Bio Treatment and are here for you 24/7. Should you need our services, please call us at 800-295-1684.