With the festive season and hot summer days upon us, the Tshwane emergency services has, in the past month alone, responded to three incidents of children who have fallen into swimming pools.
Spokesperson Johan Pieterse said more children are opting to swim during hot summer days, but in the time it takes a parent to pour a drink, a child can drown.
“The emergency services have, in the previous month alone, responded to three incidents of children who have fallen into swimming pools, with one incident being fatal,” he said.
On Friday morning, Netcare 911 responded to a near-drowning at the Hennops Picnic site in Atteridgeville, where a little girl had gotten into the water.
“When she did not surface, the bystander went in and pulled the unresponsive child from the water. Paramedics arrived at the scene and found that the bystander had performed CPR,” Netcare 911 spokesperson Chris Botha said.
The child regained consciousness shortly before paramedics arrived at the scene. She was treated and taken to hospital, Botha said.
Pieterse urged parents and pool owners to consider the following safety tips:
- Never leave a child unattended near any source of water, even a bathtub, fishpond and water bucket.
- Get a reputable supplier to install a fitted cover for your pool or water feature. Do not secure a pool but ignore a pond or fountain. Inspect the cover fasteners regularly and replace them as soon as they weather or break as they are crucial for effective covers.
- If children visit friends whose pools are not secure, urge the parents to fit a safety pool cover. ɳ Check the weight tolerance of any safety cover purchased.
- Ensure that pools are fenced and fitted with a self-closing and self-latching gate that opens to the outside of the pool. The latch should be out of reach of children.
- A swimming pool fence does not substitute supervision. Close the pool completely. ɳ Do not leave toys in or right next to a pool, as children will be tempted to retrieve them.
- Display a safety sign with emergency numbers on pool fences. Keep a cellphone or cordless phone near the pool to contact 10177 in any emergency. ɳ Every adult in the home should know how to perform CPR, including domestic workers.
- As soon as a child is found in a pool, start CPR and do not stop until paramedics arrive. Immediate CPR can make a difference between a full recovery, brain damage and death.