Practice Water Safety
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Student Life

Swim Safely into summer

Why you need to dive into this summer, safely first.

Pool Ladder

It was a normal Tuesday morning. My mother and I were driving home from our weekly swim at a private pool in Mission Viejo, California. As we debated whether to make breakfast at home or pick it up on the way, the radio transitioned from early 2000's pop to the voice of a familiar broadcaster. For a moment, my mother and I fell silent, waiting to see if the morning's news was worth listening to. Part of me wishes we had switched the channel and continued our squabbling over the sound of spotty throwback music, but the broadcaster's unusually, melancholy tone caught us off guard. A 19-month-old girl, Emeline Miller, passed away in an accidental drowning.

Emeline, daughter of decorated Olympian, Bode Miller, wandered away from a small party at a neighbor's house to a pool in the backyard. When her mother, Morgan Beck Miller, noticed the infant was no longer by her side, she ran into the backyard where she quickly pulled Emeline out of the pool. Efforts to administer CPR were made by both the party-goers and the paramedics transporting Emeline and her mother to the hospital. Soon after their arrival, the toddler was pronounced dead.

My mother and I sat in silent shock. With heavy hearts, we struggled to fathom this devastating news and its affect on Emeline's family. The mere thought of a terrible thing happening, much less in the same county where you live, seems unimaginable. But, hearing Emeline's story on the radio that morning struck a familiar chord in my memory.

Fun in the SunCreator Photo

When I was about four years old, my sister and I devised a plan to make an old, plastic snow sled into a functional boat. I remember sneaking into the garage and pulling the red, two-man sled out of storage. There was a thin, yet substantial crack down the center that my sister and I quickly patched up with duct tape from our father's toolbox. I remember excitedly lowering our makeshift craft into the pool, where it succeeded to float on its own. Together, my sister and I hopped into the floating sled and pushed off from the curb. Within a matter of seconds, the sled was enveloped by water, sinking to the bottom of the pool. My sister was laughing hysterically at our failure as she tread water in the deep end. Frantically, I scrambled toward the pool's edge as the weight of the chlorinated water pulled me beneath the surface. Hearing this commotion, my mother stepped outside to see what was going on. The next thing I knew, she had swooped me up in her arms and carried me into the shallow end.

At the time of this incident, I didn't stop to consider the severity of the situation I so luckily escaped. Now, in light of recent events, I feel compelled to stress the importance of practicing water safety. According to the Orange County Fire Authority (OCFA) website, drowning is "the leading cause of accidental injury and death in children under the age of five and the second leading cause of death in children under the age of 14." Regardless of whether or not you or a loved one fall under the scope of these age brackets, it's important to keep the buddy system and the ABC's of Water Safety in mind. In one of many safety videos on the OCFA website, Capt. Steve Concialdi states that "Medical emergencies can happen any time… and if there's nobody with you, nobody can save you."

Additionally, he outlines the ABC's of Water Safety: A stands for Active Adult Supervision; B stands for Barriers- gates, nets and other obstacles that block access to the pool; and, C stands for CPR classes and swimming lessons. Practicing these preventative methods will help secure the pool and its perimeters, making it both a safe and a fun place to spend the summer.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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