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Parents Face Pool Drowning Nightmare

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Easley, SC Having a backyard pool might be a child's dream, but for parents, above-ground or in-ground pools can be a nightmare. Too many parents know the horror of losing a child in an above-ground or in-ground pool drowning. And whether the tragedy happens in their own backyard, in a neighbor's yard, or at a resort, parents never get over the horror of losing their child.

It's that sort of nightmare that the Mercengill family faced in June 2016, according to Time (6/20/16). That's when the family went to a social event. The children went outside to play and twin three-year-old boys—Caleb and Ezekiel—managed to get into a locked pool area that housed a four-foot above-ground pool. After spending as much as 20 minutes underwater, the boys were found. Caleb was pronounced dead at the hospital, Ezekiel was put on life support but died the next day.

USA Today (6/20/16) reports that although there was a key needed to access the pool area, there was a gap in the fence. With a water level of over three feet, the pool was deadly for the boys who were just learning how to swim.

Pools—both the above-ground and in-ground types—are a huge attraction for children, who are often not aware how dangerous they can be or how quickly things can turn deadly. Although there are rules about safety measures to prevent children from wandering into pools unattended, there is still a high death toll due to fences not being properly maintained or children being resourceful enough to get through the barriers.

In an NBC News report from July 2016, Dr. Rich Lichenstein, a pediatric emergency doctor at the University of Maryland Medical Center, noted that children are natural explorers who are drawn to pools and colorful pool toys. He also stated that drowning is the number one cause of accidental death of children under the age of four.

The news report cites US Consumer Product Safety Commission statistics putting the annual death toll of children under the age of five who drown in pools at almost 300. One out of 10 child pool drownings happens after the child has figured out how to get through pool fences, and 87% of child drownings happen in residential pools.

That means parents have to be vigilant about their kids, even if the pool is in a locked area. And pool owners must ensure any barriers protecting children from an unattended pool are properly maintained. Even with covers over pools, if water gets above the cover there is the possibility for a child drowning.

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