Just this past Saturday, a 1-year-old boy in Wrentham, Massachusetts, drowned in a backyard pool as his family was celebrating Father’s Day. Family members performed CPR on young Angelo Nicoloro, but it was too late. He died at a Rhode Island hospital shortly afterward.
Angelo is among the latest victims of drowning, which claims about 10 American lives every day, about 3,400 a year, according to Stop Drowning Now, an activist group that seeks to prevent drownings. Drowning is the No. 1 cause of death for children age 4 and younger, the group said.
Among all people, drowning remains the fifth leading cause of unintentional death, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Children, like Angelo, are at a particularly high drowning risk.
About 750 children drown in pools and natural bodies of water each year, 375 within 25 yards of a parent or adult, according to the CDC. More startling, the CDC said, 10 percent of parents watch their children drown because they don’t know it’s happening.
After Angelo’s death, Wrentham police Chief Bill McGrath pleaded with parents to always keep an eye on their kids, especially when there is a pool at the home.
“You need to be hyper-vigilant beyond reason,” McGrath wrote on Facebook. “Pools are truly a trap for the toddlers of our world, so much fun at face value, so dangerous at the same time. The little ones only see the fun.”
Here are six tips provided by PoolSafely.gov to help ensure that swimming pools stay safe:
- Never leave a child unattended in or near water. The public education campaign also recommends that parents and caregivers remain alert even if there is a lifeguard on duty.
- Teach children how to swim. “Swimming is not only fun, it’s a lifesaving skill.”
- Teach children to stay away from drains. Children’s hair, limbs, jewelry or bathing suits can all get stuck in a drain or suction opening. Make sure to locate the drains before getting into the pool.
- Ensure all pools and spas you visit have compliant drain covers. Powerful suction from a pool or spa drain is enough to trap even an adult.
- Install proper barriers, covers and alarms on and around your pool and spa. “A fence of at least 4 feet in height should surround the pool or spa on all sides and should not be climbable for children. The water should only be accessible through a self-closing, self-latching gate.”
- Know how to perform CPR on children and adults. Learning cardiopulmonary resuscitation can help save a life.