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Start Of Swimming Season Brings Child Drowning Risk

Chula Vista 4th graders take swimming lessons at Parkway Family Aquatic Cente...

Photo by Susan Murphy

Above: Chula Vista 4th graders take swimming lessons at Parkway Family Aquatic Center on May 26, 2011.

It's a parent's worst nightmare: Finding their child floating face down or at the bottom of a pool. Most child drownings happen between Memorial Day and Labor Day.

Pool Life-Saving Tips

  • Never leave a child unattended in a pool or spa and always watch your child when he or she is in or near water.
  • Teach children basic water safety tips.
  • Keep children away from pool drains, pipes and other openings to avoid entrapments.
  • Have a telephone close by when you or your family is using a pool or spa.
  • If a child is missing, look for him or her in the pool or spa first.
  • Share safety instructions with family, friends and neighbors.
  • Learn how to swim and teach your child how to swim.
  • Learn to perform CPR on children and adults, and update those skills regularly.
  • Understand the basics of life saving so that you can assist in a pool emergency.

Source: Pool Safely

Drowning is the leading cause of death due to injuries for children ages 1 to 4, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Nationally, three children die every day as a result of drowning, and for every 10 drownings there are approximately 30 near-drownings.

In 2013, four children in San Diego County had died from drowning by mid-June, just one month into the swimming season. In 2012, there were seven drowning deaths of children age 14 and younger.

The American Red Cross is urging everyone in a national campaign to take swimming lessons this summer. The organization is planning to teach 50,000 more people across 19 states how to swim as part of its 100 years of swimming safety education. The goal is to reduce the drowning rate by 50 percent over the next three to five years.

“We're asking every family to make sure that both adults and children can swim and that parents make water safety a priority this summer,” said Connie Harvey, director of the Red Cross Centennial Initiative.

Parents are urged to watch their children closely while they're in or near water and to put down distracting phones or other devices. Parents are also reminded that plastic inflatable flotation devices are not life jackets and should never be substituted for adult supervision.

On Friday, June 20, 2014, San Diego County residents can participate in a record attempt for The World’s Largest Swimming Lesson along with thousands of people in 13 different countries across five continents. The Fletcher Hills Center & Pool, located at 2345 Center Place in El Cajon will be serving as an official host location facility. Participants can sign up online at or in person at the Fletcher Hills Center & Pool. The fee is $1 per participant.

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