According to the Miami Herald, police report that a 2-year-old has tragically drowned at a family gathering Sunday evening. The saddest part of this horrific event is that the toddler’s death may have been preventable.
Police report that the girl had been swimming in the family pool during a gathering when she went under the water. No one noticed, and it only took a few minutes, but by the time the alarm was raised and the paramedics made it to the property, the girl was pronounced dead.
In these helpful guidelines from the American Red Cross, the following really stands out: Never leave a young child unattended near water, and do not trust a child’s life to another child. It’s really that simple. If a child is swimming, they should always — no exceptions — have adult supervision.
As horrific as this tragedy is, it’s all too easy to see how something like this can happen at a party, with adults chatting and talking with their friends and a bunch of kids no doubt playing and splashing loudly in a nearby pool. Still, this cautionary tale teaches us that parents always need to designate an adult to supervise their swimming kids. While there may have been plenty of bodies milling about the party, if no eyes are trained on the child, a tragedy like this can happen in the blink of an eye.
There are many methods for establishing who will watch the kids at a party, and as an example, I have friends who use a brightly colored rubber band around their wrist to designate who’s in charge while they attend social gatherings. Whoever wore the band was in charge of watching the kids in the water, and they would switch off throughout the evening, giving each of them a turn to socialize.
Here are some additional helpful tips from the American Red Cross:
- Nobody should ever should swim alone. Even at a public pool or a beach with a lifeguard, use the buddy system!
- Ensure that everyone in the family learns to swim well. Enroll your kids in swim lessons as soon as they are able.
- Young swimmers should wear U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jackets around water, but don’t rely solely on life jackets for safety.
- Set limits. Establish family rules based on each person’s ability. Do not let kids play around drains or suction pipes or engage in contests where they hold their breath.
- Always be cautious around natural bodies of water including rivers, oceans, and lakes.