On Monday, the Riverside County’s Water Safety Coalition held a press conference to raise local awareness about water safety in response to several child drownings this year.
According to the agency, seven children have drowned locally since January—most of them in backyard pools. In addition, there has been a total of 16 fatal adult drownings and 24 non-fatal near drownings in the county so far this year.
Considering these results, it is easy to understand why Water Safety Coalition officials felt a sense of urgency about sounding the alarm on the importance of water safety.
Riverside Battalion Chief Todd Phillips stressed the importance of remaining alert anytime children are near water and suggested designating a sober and responsible adult to supervise them.
In addition to designating a water watcher every single time in or near the water, other simple steps to pool safety that can help save lives include making sure your children know how to swim, learning CPR, always remove portable pool ladders when they are not in use and ensuring all permanent pools have a proper fence, gate and safer drain covers.
The organization First Five of Riverside has offered to play a key role in the area of swim safety by providing families with low-cost and no-cost swim lessons. The agency is providing a $340,000 grant that will be used to teach approximately 880 children in Riverside County self-rescue techniques.
Nationally, drowning is the leading cause of unintentional death in children ages one through four. Not surprisingly, children can slip under water without much commotion. Many drownings occur even with a house full of adults and kids. For more information on low-cost and free swim lessons is available online at https://rivcowatersafety.net/.