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TODAY news for Thursday, September 14, 2006

Loma Linda University Children's Hospital news

SAFE KIDS hosts water safety demonstration

The ABCs of water safety
The ABCs of water safety include “A” for Adults. It’s important to either have a lifeguard or an adult keeping their eyes on children in or around the pool.
Although most kids are in school by now, with the high temperatures, they’re still making a run for the water. But, plans for some good ol’ times can be unexpectedly shattered. Drowning is the leading cause of death to children under the age of 5, even though it is 100 percent preventable.

Two-year-old Brandon was full of life and love. He taught his family how to enjoy life and not sweat the small stuff.

“Brandon was a special child, he had Down syndrome. Yet, he was always smiling and laughing. He didn’t see it as a problem,” says his mother, Kim Patrick.

Brandon would have been 9 years old this year, but drowned in a backyard pool at the age of 2.

Since that devastating day, Ms. Patrick has dedicated her time to accident prevention.

“To go through the suffering and the pain that I feel is not something that I want other parents to experience,” she explains. “Not for something that’s preventable.”

As the coordinator for Inland Empire SAFE KIDS coalition at Children’s Hospital, she helped plan a water safety demonstration just before Labor Day weekend.

Preschoolers came to the event where they were read Stewie the Duck, a water safety book. A lifeguard and Rialto firefighters demonstrated a rescue, while 8-year-old Clay Parker played the victim.

“It’s very important to have a grown-up at the pool,” says the 8-year-old. Clay enjoyed helping out with the water safety demonstration because “I don’t want a loss of lots of children.”

The preschoolers were also given Stewie the Duck books and towels with safety rules printed on them.

Last, attendees were presented a chilling image: outfits representing the 19 children who drowned so far this year in the Inland Empire—nine in San Bernardino County, and 10 in Riverside County. But for every child that drowns, about four more suffer from non-fatal incidents, which usually mean brain damage.

Although swimming pools are the most common locations for drowning, it has even happened in ice chests. When the ice melts, it turns into a potential drowning site.

Other prevention tips include emptying kiddy pools and buckets. It only takes one inch of water to drown. Without oxygen, children lose consciousness in between 30 seconds and one minute, and become brain dead after a mere four minutes. Drowning is a silent scream. No one can cry out for help when they’re submerged in water.

Rialto firefighter Matt Payne shares the ABCs of water safety:

• Adults: constantly supervise your children.

• Barriers: a self-enclosed gate needs to surround the pool.

• Classes: children should take swimming classes, and adults should learn first-aid and CPR.

In the meantime, Kim Patrick dreads going back to work after a hot weekend. She’s afraid of getting bad news ... that a child drowned. Hopefully she won’t get that call.

By Patricia Thio

TODAY news for Thursday, September 14, 2006