Tragic Drowning of 6-Year-Old Girl in Altadena Leaves Community Saddened, Prompts Water Warnings

Published : Tuesday, July 2, 2019 | 5:59 AM

The drowning death of a 6-year-old girl who was found in a pool at an Altadena summer camp last Friday morning prompted calls for the public to renew their poolside vigilance “in a day and age of people glued to their cell phone and it only takes a couple of seconds for drowning to occur.”

Especially, a Pasadena official said, with a long weekend holiday weekend coming up.

County authorities continue their investigation into what is considered an accidental drowning of a child June 28 at Summerkids camp in the 3600 block of Fair Oaks Avenue in the unincorporated foothills of Altadena.

“Our entire camp community is in mourning,” Summerkids said in a statement.

“This is the first such incident at our camp in more than 40 years of operation, and we are conducting a thorough process to evaluate what occurred.”

Meanwhile Pasadena, said spokeswoman Lisa Derderian, has not suffered any drownings at recent years at City-run pools. But that doesn’t mean there haven’t been close calls.

“There’s a misconception out there that when somebody is drowning they’re going to be flailing their hands up and down and screaming for help. That’s not the case,” she said. “Most drownings are silent drownings.”

Those who maintain pools should assure that somebody nearby can perform Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR), said Derderian.

“We have, as far as public pools for the City, lifeguards trained to the highest level with first aid and CPR. So, we pride ourselves on that, but again, no matter how much training you have…”

Those going to pools, public or private, should bring a cell phone and be mindful of the address where they’re swimming.

“That’s in case you need to call for help from a cell phone because you won’t have it,”  said Derderian. “Most people don’t have landline phones, or you may not have time to run inside when you don’t want to leave the person.”

Derderian also made an important point which may not be widely known.

Even cases where a person suffers a near-drowning but comes up coughing and appearing fine, can turn fatal.

“Somebody is underwater, and they come up and they start coughing and you think they’re okay,” she said. “But always get emergency care because there’s situations where that water gets in the lungs. Somebody may appear to be okay for a while, but then it can be fatal within hours.”

“So even if they appear to be fine afterward, with near drowning, always seek medical attention right away,” she said.

Derderian offered this list of safety tips:

  • Never leave a child alone out of eye contact supervision in or near the pool or spa – not even for a second.

  • Young children should never be considered water safe despite their swimming skills, previous instruction or experience.

  • Locked doors or gates should limit access to the pool or spa whenever swimming or soaking cannot be supervised.

  • Teach your children good pool or spa safety habits: no running, pushing playmates, no jumping on others, no diving or jumping in shallow water or “dunking”.

  • Do not rely solely on plastic inner tubes, inflatable armbands or other toys to prevent accidents.

  • Keep toys, particularly tricycles or wheel toys, away from the pool or spa. A child paying with these could accidentally fall into the water.

  • Do not allow anyone of any age to swim without a “spotter” nearby. Examples of good safety behavior by adults are important for young children.

  • During social gatherings, be certain that someone has the major responsibility for watching the children and swimmers at all times.

  • Do not permit playful screaming for help (false alarms) that might mask a real emergency.

  • Teach your children the most effective way to get out of the pool or spa quickly.

  • Do not allow your child to swim immediately after eating a heavy meal.

  • Do not allow swimming during thunder or other storms.

  • Do not allow glass in the pool or spa area.

In case of emergency:

  1. Dial 911. It is advisable to install a telephone (or use a cordless telephone) in the pool or spa area.

  2. Give your name, location, and telephone number you are calling from

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