LONG ISLAND, N.Y. – Summer is over and pools are closing, so parents can scratch the drowning danger off their list. Or can they?
There are hidden dangers in nearly every home that you need to fix today so your child doesn’t become the next drowning statistic.
Drowning remained the second leading cause of death from unintentional injury for girls aged 1 to 4 years. For boys aged 1 to 4 years, unintentional drowning has been the leading cause of death from unintentional injury since 2005.
The numbers don’t lie and the Fasciana family of Long Island know it too well. As educators, dad is a school principal, mom is an assistant principal, they’ve known far too many families who’ve lost a child to drowning.
That’s why when it comes to their backyard pool, they know it’s a mixture of fun and danger.
Bobby Hazen from the Long Island Drowning Prevention Task Force, and a swim instructor reminds us the dangers are everywhere.
“Playset, bucket anything that can hold water is a problem, Hazen said. "Approximately 400 children will die every five years in a bathtub.”
For Keith and Maryann, parents to three kids, they know the fun, and potential danger in their backyard pool.
Keith was notified a child meant to enter kindergarten at his school this year died in a summer drowning accident.
It hits home every time.
“Every year, you see senseless deaths that occur,” he said.
Wife Maryann was quick to add: “We think it’s important for children to learn how to swim and be safe around a pool.”
And that’s why they’ve taught each of their children to swim by age three. And they made sure lots of safety is in place from a pool alarm to two fences, with a self- latching gate, to a door alarm that sounds each time a child leaves the house.
“There’s no price on a child’s life, so it’s extremely important to take all the precautions necessary to keep your family safe,” says Hazen.
But Hazen, founder of the Long Island Drowning Prevention Task Force, says it’s easy for parents to miss the hidden dangers: from baby’s bath time, to playing with a water table, to a bucket forgotten in the backyard, all can lead to disaster.”
One of the issues, toddlers are “top heavy”, their heads are disproportionately heavy compared with their bodies, making they’re tip-prone. So they can come upon a hazard, lean over to explore, and fall in, unable to pull themselves back out.
“Anything that has ability to hold water can cause a problem," Hazen says. "As little as two inches.”
That’s why Hazen teaches kids to swim starting as young as two to six months old.
"That way they’re protected from when then the majority of drowning deaths occur—which is around the age of four," Hazen said. “If you start them young, they’ll be fully able to save themselves, float on their back and get back to safety.”
For information on how to prevent drownings, click here.