Each year, about 1,500 young people 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 alert is a brief treatment of the topic, focusing on a real, recent, public event, gleaned from the media…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.
MIDWEST CITY: 05/12/2006 –- Dwayne [surname] used the swimming pool at the [name] YMCA several times before Wednesday night, without a problem.
Now police are investigating how the 16-year-old boy - who could not swim - ended up at the bottom of the deep end. He died a short time later at University Hospital.
“It's just a shock,” said Steve Thompson, executive director of the Sunrise Residential Life Skills Center on Burnet Avenue in [city], a group home for youths where Dwayne was living.
Dwayne was on an outing at the Y with other residents of the home, Thompson said.
Thompson said it was Dwayne's fourth visit to the Y. “He's been in the pool each of those times,” he said. “Our hearts are heavy to learn of this sad news,” [name], president/CEO of the YMCA of [city], said Thursday of Dwayne's death.
Police and fire personnel responded to the Y, [address], about 8:45 p.m. Dwayne, who had been pulled from the pool, was unconscious when they arrived.
Dwayne and six other boys, ages 12 to 16, had been brought there to swim by a group home employee, police said. A lifeguard found Dwayne at the bottom of the pool in 10 feet of water and pulled him out. “The young man came swimming with his group home and swam while an experienced, certified lifeguard was on duty,” [YMCA CEO] said. “The guard administered CPR with the help of another YMCA member who happens to be a police officer.” An autopsy will be performed to determine the cause of death, police said.
YMCA spokeswoman [name] said it is not known how long the teen was at the bottom of the pool.
Thompson said the group home staff member circulates through the Y to monitor residents as they participate in various activities. Dwayne, of [suburb], recently moved into the group home. Teens are placed by [Name] County Jobs and Family Services Department, Thompson said.
They have behavior problems or have home situations that necessitate their removal, he said.
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.