Each year, nearly 1,500 children drown in the U.S. As we all know, a drowning can occur nearly anywhere. Yet, the natural inclination is to believe that one will not happen in our own community, especially at our own YMCA. Awareness of the threat's reality is critical. Reinforcing proven prevention strategies is an essential element in protecting the kids in our programs. Both are the goals for our “Aquatic Alert” program. Each is a brief treatment of the topic, focussing on a real, recent, public event… reprinting the published article in its entirety (omitting names and identifying references to the organization) and providing a few important teaching points for you to share with your staff. As always, if you need additional guidance on this topic, please call us at (800) 463 8546.
SMALL MIDWESTERN TOWN: 04/01/2002 - An 8-year-old [small town] girl died in what authorities believe was an accidental drowning in a YMCA swimming pool.
[Victim] was found late Friday in the deep end of the pool at the [Name] YMCA in [small town].
A lifeguard saw the girl's body at the bottom of the pool shortly before 11 p.m., police said.
The girl was pronounced dead at [Name] Community Hospital in [small town]. Police said the incident is being treated as an accidental drowning.”
SMALL MIDWESTERN TOWN: 04/02/2002 - An 8-year-old girl who drowned in a pool at a late night Girl Scout party didn't know how to swim, her relatives said.
[Victim] of [small town] was found at the bottom of the pool in the deep end Friday at the [Name] YMCA in [small town].
“It's our understanding from witnesses and relatives that she was a non-swimmer,” said [YMCA director], executive director of the [Name] YMCA.
A lifeguard was on duty and about five adults were at the pool. About 15 girls were in the water when [victim] drowned.
It wasn't clear if anyone knew [victim] couldn't swim when she dove off a diving board in the deep end. She spent about a minute underwater before a lifeguard pulled her from the pool and tried to resuscitate her, [YMCA director] said.
[Small town] police Chief [name] said the death has been ruled an accidental drowning.
"Everyone appears to have done their job,” [police chief] said. “It was just a tragic accident.”
A non-swimmer gained access to the deep end of the pool and used the diving board.
A lifeguard should evaluate all areas within his/her area of responsibility every 10 seconds: above water, below water, and on the pool bottom.
It is far easier to keep swimmers safe than to resuscitate them after an aquatic emergency.
Special events bring increased risk and the need for increased diligence.
Everyone is responsible for aquatic safety. We do not know where the Girl Scout leaders were when the girls were in the water, but they should have been actively watching their girls, either from the deck or from in the water.
Please call us at 800-463-8546 to discuss this or any other risk management safety tip, or visit our web site at www.redwoodsgroup.com to learn more about YMCA risk management issues.