Dr. Darrin Privett Spells Out the ABCs of Water Safety at Expo Saturday 11 a.m.
Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital emergency room physician Dr. Darrin Privett will speak about drowning prevention as one of the featured speakers at the third annual “Children Drown Without a Sound Water Safety Expo” in Santa Clarita on Saturday.
The Los Angeles County Fire Department, the city of Santa Clarita, the Academy Swim Club and Henry Mayo have joined forces to stage the Expo at Fire Station 126 on Citrus Avenue in Valencia from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Free and open to the public, the event will feature Radio Disney performers, food trucks, games, giveaways and a wide variety of water safety information and other resources for families and individuals.
Dr. Privett will start his presentation on drowning prevention at 11 a.m.
One Preventable Drowning is Too Many
County fire paramedics are usually the first-responders to a drowning or near-drowning in the Santa Clarita Valley. Unless the victim has already died, Henry Mayo ER doctors like Dr. Privett come next in the local life-saving sequence.
“This past year we’ve probably had at least 10 to 20 drownings and near-drownings, unfortunately,” he said. “That’s why it’s important to have these types of expos to increase awareness for pool safety, because this is preventable. It’s really important that we increase safety around the pool, so we can prevent any hardship not only to a little one, but any hardship to a family that could go through something like a drowning, or even a scary near-drowning.”
How Can Children Drown Without a Sound?
Saturday’s “‘Children Drown Without a Sound’ Water Safety Expo” is aptly named.
“A drowning can happen super-fast,” Dr. Privett said. “It takes seconds for a child to be submerged. It takes seconds before they could lose consciousness, and only a few minutes being submerged and without oxygen can cause potential brain damage,” he said.
A few minutes longer underwater will result in permanent brain damage, then death.
And this Water Safety Expo is well-timed, just when Santa Clarita Valley kids are fresh out of school and headed for the pool to stay cool.
“Typically, the summer is when you see the incidents of drowning increase,” Dr. Privett said. “However, with the weather we have in the Santa Clarita Valley, we tend to see these throughout the year, as kids try to cool off and families try to cool off in their home pools or community pools. It doesn’t even have to be a pool. It can just be any body of water, a bathtub, even bucket of water. So, unfortunately, we do see drownings all year round.”
Learning the ABCs of Water Safety
At the Expo, Dr. Privett and the nurses and staff at the Henry Mayo booth are out to boost awareness and provide tools to Santa Clarita Valley residents, to help everyone in our community make sure no child drowns silently.
These tools include knowledge of the ABCs of water safety, which every parent and young swimmer should have.
“A” is for adult supervision.
“B” is for barrier around the pool.
“C” is confidence around the water (as in knowing how to swim) and CPR (knowing how to attempt to resuscitate someone who has stopped breathing).
“The most important thing is always have adult supervision,” Dr. Privett said. “You always want to make sure you know where your children are, especially when there’s any type of body of water around.”
People with backyard swimming pools must make sure those pools are safe. “You want to maintain a barrier around that pool,” he said.
“We moved from Saugus to Newhall a year ago, and our new home had a pool, and before my family even moved in, we made sure there was a barrier and gate around the pool,” Dr. Privett said.
“You need to have a good barrier, make sure there’s a locked gate, and that there’s no patio furniture or other objects near that barrier that would make it easy for kids to climb over,” he said.
Teaching youngsters how to swim early brings safety awareness as well as confidence in and around the water.
“Kids should be comfortable in the pool,” Dr. Privett said. “Help them get swim lessons as soon as possible. Of course, based upon their age, you want to make sure they have specific devices that can help, such as life jackets, so they will be able to float in the water if possible.”
Sign Up at Expo for Free Henry Mayo CPR Courses
As parents, Dr. Privett said, “We need to make sure we are aware of CPR techniques in case something like that were to happen, so we will be able to respond appropriately,” he said.
Expo visitors can visit the Academy Swim Club booth to sign up for swimming lessons at the popular Valencia swim school. Staff at the Henry Mayo booth will offer signups for the hospital’s free monthly CPR courses. Certified CPR instructors provide the training in the hospital’s Human Resources Building every third Thursday from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m.
“It’s great that the hospital can get involved in the community,” Dr. Privett said. “I think anything we can do to assist in preventing injury, to protect our children, is really important.”
Los Angeles County Fire Department Station 126 is located at 26320 Citrus Street, Santa Clarita 91355, between Magic Mountain Parkway and Valencia Boulevard, just east of the Westfield Valencia Town Center Mall. Here’s a map.
For more information about Henry Mayo, call 661-253-8000 or visit the hospital’s website at http://www.henrymayo.com.
Photos: Courtesy LACoFD/City of Santa Clarita.
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