Recent drowning incidents have parents, firefighters reiterating the importance of pool safety

Local News
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Recent drowning incidents involving children in the Las Vegas valley has parents and first responders talking about steps that need to be taken to make sure children are kept safe this pool season.

In just two days there were two incidents involving children in pools. On Friday, a 1-year-old was found unconscious in a pool near Tropicana and Rainbow. That child survived, but another toddler didn’t. 

One-year-old Liam Martinez died Saturday after falling into a pool nearLake Mead Parkway and Jones Boulevard.

“It’s terrifying how quickly a drowning can happen,” said Lauren Smillie, a Henderson resident.

“It takes literally seconds for a child to go under the water and [for] a potential life-threatening event to occur,” said Daniel Pentkowski, the president of Henderson Professional Firefighters and the Captain of the Henderson Fire Department.

According to Pentkowski, Friday and Saturday’s incidents serve as a reminder to always watch children around pools.

“We see first hand the devastation of a loss of life or serious injury to a child; how that impacts the parents, how that impacts the entire community,” said Pentkowski.

Pentkowski and other firefighters and parents in the community are committed to drowning prevention campaigns that reinforce the three P’s. 

The first and the most important of the three P’s is ‘patrol.’ Patrol means the child must be monitored by an adult at all times.

Second on the list of the three P’s is for protection.

“For protection, we have self-closing/self-latching gates around our pools to make sure that’s there’s a barrier in between that child that if there’s a sliding glass door that’s self-closing and self-locking,” Pentkowski said.

“I think if you have a pool that would be [an] essential and worthy investment,” Smillie said.

Last on the list of the three P’s is ‘prepare.’ It’s important for adults to learn CPR and have children take swim classes. This is something 
Lauren Smillie is already doing for her kids.

“We just signed up to take swim classes this summer for both of the children,” Smillie said.

“In the movies, it’s a splash and screaming — that’s not the case,” said Pentkowski. “These children slip under the water, and often it’s with an entire pool of people that surround them.”

Some interesting statistics from the CDC regarding drowning for every child who dies from drowning — another five receive emergency care for submersion injuries.

Also, the highest drowning rates are among children ages 1-4 followed by children ages 5-9, and often the reason for the incidents are associated with the lack of supervision.

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