By Miriam Raftery
March 28, 2015 (Ramona)—A 4-year-old boy drowned in a swimming pool March 21st at a neighbor’s home in Ramona.
Lieutenant John Maryon with the Sheriff’s homicide unit calls the case a “truly tragic accident” adding that no charges will be filed.
The child somehow got through, or over, two fences that surrounded the pool on Swartz Canyon Road. The homeowner heard her dogs barking and discovered the child unconscious in the pool.
She called 911 and followed instructions from the dispatcher on how to perform CPR. Paramedics tried to resuscitate the victim, who was taken by air ambulance to Rady Children’s Hospital, where despite all efforts to save him, he died.
The tragedy is an important reminder to keep an eye on young children and for pool owners to follow safety procedures to reduce risk.
Drowning is the number one cause of death in San Diego County among children ages one to four years old. About 70% of these drowning occur in home swimming pools and spas. In the past 10 years, over 540 children have been hospitalized after drowning accidents and about one in five of those children died.
The San Diego chapter of the Independent Pool & Spa Service Association offers these tips to prevent drowning.
- Never leave a child alone in or near a pool, spa, beach or tub—not even for a second. If you have to leave momentarily, take the child with you. In most drowning, adults were nearby, and often the children were last seen playing in the house or outside away from the pool area.
- Enroll children over three in swimming lessons, but be aware that even children who have had swimming instructions are still at risk. Don’t rely on innertubes, inflatable toys or other items to keep your child safe.
- If a child is missing, immediately look in the pool or spa first. A drowning child cannot cry out for help.
- If you own a pool or spa, enclose them with a fence or wall—and always keep your pool and spa area locked. Be sure the gate is spring-locked, self-closing and has self-locking mechanism. The inside latch should be above the reach of young children.
- It’s a good idea to add a pool cover and alarms on doors and windows that can lead to a pool. But these are not fool-proof and should not be considered a substitute for supervision.
- If you have a pool cover, remove it completely when using the pool; a small child can become trapped underneath and not be visible to adults.
- Don’t allow children to ride tricycles or other wheeled toys near water.
- Insist that no one swim alone; always have a spotter nearby, even for adults.
- Don’t allow children to scream in play while in a pool, since a real emergency might go unnoticed.
- Teach children how to get out of the pool or spa quickly.
- Keep items that can be thrown in or used to reach a swimmer in an emergency.
- Prohibit swimming after eating meals.
- Don’t allow swimming during thunderstorms, even if the storm seems far away, since lightning is attracted to water and can travel for miles.
- Teach children never to dive into water if you don’t know the depth. When in doubt, stay out!
- Learn CPR and teach your children, too.
- Keep a portable phone or cell phone,, fully charged, at the pool or spa. Teach kids how to dial 911.