Pool safety and drowning prevention: Steps to avoid injury or death this Summer

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As Summer approaches, Riverside County Public Health officials, the Red Cross, and city officials throughout the Coachella Valley are working simultaneously to remind the public about pool safety and drowning prevention.

Between 2018-2021, drownings were the first and second leading causes of death in children aged 1-4 in Riverside County, according to Riverside University Health System. There were a total of 866 reported non-fatal incidents in Riverside County (residents and non-residents) with an age-adjusted rate of 38.3 per 100,000 population (2018-2022).

During this same time-period, there were 220 deaths (residents and non-residents) of which 176 were residents with an age-adjusted death rate of 5.9 per 100,000 population.

Riverside County resident non-fatal drownings have declined since 2018, however non-resident drownings have increased slightly from 2020-2022. Residents make up the majority (75.9%) of all nonfatal drownings across the county (Figure 5).

California had an overall age-adjusted drowning fatality rate of 1.1 per 100,000 population while Riverside County had 5.1 per 100,000 population (2018-2020). (CDC, 2023, “Web-Based Injury Statistic Query and Reporting System”).

Another recent study by Poolonomics showed nearly one in 11 adults in Californian don’t know how to swim.

To help ensure residents have the tools and education necessary to prevent drowning injury or death, Desert recreation District is partnering with cities in the valley to provide free swim lessons and other programming this Summer.

Bagdouma Community Pool in Coachella is among several pools that officially open Monday for public use. News Channel 3 will be speaking with staff there to discuss the ways in which they are playing a crucial role keeping our local families safe this Summer while spending time in the water for recreational activities.

The CDC also has tips for drowning prevention which include the following:

  • Learn how to swim. Take basic swimming and water safety skills training. This is hands-on training that takes place in the water.
  • Make sure children get basic swimming and water safety skills training.
  • Find swimming lessons in your area.
  • Pay close attention to children—even those who have had swimming lessons—whenever they are in or near water, including pools, bathtubs, and even buckets of water.
  • Avoid drinking alcohol before and during swimming and boating, and wear life jackets.

For more drowning prevention tips click here.

Watch News Channel 3 at 5:00 p.m. for the full report.

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