Wednesday, July 17, 2024

Amid lifeguard shortage, pool safety for kids receives renewed attention as summer approaches


Hemet, California – It happened in a matter of seconds. Security video shows 18-month-old Cole Petit getting out of his life preserver.

He then went to the family pool in Winchester, California and slid under the surface of the water.

“Like a bag of bricks, straight down,” his father, Zachary Pettit, told CBS News.

Petit was just feet away, applying sunblock to his daughter. He dived for his son and rescued him from the water.

“I think I acted in a way that any normal parent would have reacted,” Pettit said.

As a firefighter in nearby Hemet — which is located about 80 miles east of downtown Los Angeles — Pettit has responded to drownings before. So at home, he has a pool fence and motion detectors.

“If I had gone in, ‘Hey, I’m going to go get something to drink quickly, I’m going to use the restroom.’ That small amount could be the difference between, you know, whether we’re planning a funeral or not,” Pettit said.

According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, unintentional drowning results in an estimated 4,000 deaths per year in the US. The CDC says it is one of the leading killers of children ages 1 to 4, with most drownings occurring in home swimming pools.

The American Lifeguard Association (ALA) reported that as many as half of the nation’s 309,000 public pools could be forced to close or reduce their hours. lack of lifeguards,

ALA spokesman Wyatt Werneth said, “They have no place to go and they’re going to start looking for lakes, ponds, levees, waterways canals.” “There’s no lifeguard, and we’re going to drown more as a result.”

Little and Hemet Fire Department Posted Home security camera video of the rescue on social media in hopes of educating parents about water safety.

“I think if it ends up making one parent, one parent, pay a little more attention, and save one child from drowning, then our message was successful,” Pettit said. .

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