Local boy recovering from near-drowning at community pool

A 3-year-old boy was responding to his parents and hospital personnel early this week after a near-drowning incident on Saturday, June 18.

Bob Powell, public information officer, for the Millville Volunteer Fire Company, said it seems there was a “good, happy ending.”

On Saturday, at 11:09 a.m., the same morning the fire company responded to a fatal accident on Route 17 near Clarksville, they received a call about the child.

Ocean View Police Chief Ken McLaughlin said he had an officer respond to a pool in the Pine Grove development, adjacent to the Murray’s Haven development, along with Sussex County EMS and the Millville Volunteer Fire Company.

McLaughlin said the child was resuscitated at the scene and then flown by helicopter to A.I. duPont Hospital for Children in Wilmington. Powell confirmed that he arrived in Wilmington at 1:41 p.m. on Saturday.

On Monday, June 20, Powell said, they received a update on the child’s condition from Christiana Care, stating that the boy was “responding to his parents and hospital personnel.”

Powell said that is the first time they have received such an update. “I’m glad they did,” he said. “Oftentimes, we wonder. I was tickled to hear it.”

(The Coastal Point was unable to obtain a more recent statement on the boy’s condition before press time this week.)

According to the American Red Cross, pool users should ideally to learn to swim before enjoying the water.

Other tips for keeping safe around pools include:

• Swim in designated areas that are supervised by lifeguards. Always swim with a buddy; do not allow anyone to swim alone.

• Have young children or inexperienced swimmers wear U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jackets around water, but do not rely on life jackets alone.

• Have appropriate equipment on hand, such as reaching or throwing equipment, a cell phone, life jackets and a first aid kit.

• Know how and when to call 911 or another local emergency number.

• Enroll in Red Cross water safety, first aid and CPR courses to learn how to respond.

The Red Cross notes that, with children, constant supervision is key:

• If you have a pool, secure it with appropriate barriers. Many children who drown in home pools were out of sight for less than five minutes and in the care of one or both parents at the time.

• Never leave a young child unattended near water, and do not trust a child’s life to another child; teach children to always ask permission to go near water.

• Avoid distractions when supervising children around water.

• If a child is missing, check the water first. Seconds count in preventing death or disability.

Red Cross representatives also highlighted a recent Center for Inquiry Research and Policy study at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, which examined recent data relating to portable backyard swimming pools.

The report stated that “a child dies every five days in a portable backyard pool during the summer months. Almost all of the cases involved children under the age of 5 who died in portable pools in their own back yards.”

“Families may not realize that portable pools pose many of the same risks as above- or in-ground pools,” said Dr. Linda Quan, member of the American Red Cross Scientific Advisory Council and drowning prevention expert. “You can help prevent drownings, regardless of where the water is, by following a few simple, yet essential, rules.”

Those rules include making water safety a priority, preventing unsupervised access to water, maintaining constant supervision and knowing what to do in an emergency.

For more pool and beach safety tips, visit www.redcross.org.