By Austin Dave/SCVNEWS.com
Summer is just a few weeks away, and the Los Angeles County Fire Department is asking parents to be extra cautious this season – especially around bodies of water.
The Fire Department led a regional water safety expo Saturday to reduce the risk of near-drowning and focus on an alarming increase of accidental drownings in our own backyard.
“Drownings across the United States have no social-economical barriers,” said Assistant Fire Chief Bill Niccum. “It happens to all.”
Traditionally, parents may believe drownings can occur only in large bodies of water such as lakes, ponds or swimming pools – but history says otherwise, emergency room physician Darren Privett said.
“All it takes is one to three inches of water,” he said. “It only takes a small amount of water to block their airways and increase the risk of drowning.”
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The solution? Latched pool enclosures, said Charmaine Fajardo, grandmother of 2-year-old Christopher, a toddler who drowned in a family member’s swimming pool last summer.
“There was a false sense of security because the pool had a fence,” Fajardo said.
The pool did not have a proper fence around it and did not stop the child from passing through.
“If you have a pool, invest the money in a proper, four-sided barrier,” Fajardo said.
“Children are told to stay away from the pool, so when they fall in they don’t yell,” Niccum said. “They won’t announce that they’ve done something wrong.”
Fire Department officials say drowning remains the No. 1 cause of accidental death among children under age five.