Technology making pools safe for children

“There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t pray for the opportunity to go back to that day and make it different. But now we have this opportunity to make other parents’ days different,” Morgan Miller told TODAY’s Savannah Guthrie in her and her husband’s first interview following the drowning death of their young daughter.

Emeline “Emmy” Miller passed away on June 10 after falling into a neighbor’s pool. She was 19 months old. Emmy had been in the water before with father, Bode, countless times before the tragic accident. Now, the couple are speaking out about their grief to prevent a similar accident from happening to other parents.

Within seconds of finding her daughter’s body, she began CPR while awaiting an ambulance. Emmy was initially thought to be able to survive the accident, but doctors eventually concluded that her drowning death was due to lack of oxygen for too long. The Millers had their children enrolled in drowning prevention classes and had a fence installed around their pool.

To speak out about it, says Bode, “It’s an obligation to some degree… I think it does, in some way, help to heal a little bit. That maybe we’re preventing it from happening to somebody else.”

On the other side of the world, a 12 year-old girl named Erin Town fell sick and was diagnosed with cryptosporidiosis, a diarrhea-related disease, after swimming at Wildersmouth Beach in Ilfracombe, Devon. The water was found to have poor water quality before and after the incident. The nurse at the hospital where her daughter is staying told Paulina Town, Erin’s mother, that a few others had come to the ER after getting ill from the same beach.

She told the news that signs at the beach warning of things like unsafe water conditions should be made ‘bigger and more obvious’.

“I would hate for anyone else to go through this, it has been petrifying,” she said.

There are ten top tips to keep the water safe for kids. More than 3,700 people drowned in 2016 in the United States and drowning was the leading cause of preventable death for 1-to-4-year-olds that year, according to the National Safety Council.

Tips include building a pool fence that will act a barrier and a deterrent for children. Adding a sensor or an alarm to the fence that sets off an alert when the fence is opened can help further prevent children from getting near the pool without supervision. Diving boards and swimming pool slides should also be left away from pools as they, too, cause pool injuries and deaths. In case of an accident, having rescue equipment and a first aid kit nearby can help while awaiting an ambulance. Pools should be inspected for slipping hazards, any chemicals should be properly stored, and drain covers should be locked. Furthermore, learning CPR, teaching children how to swim, and setting rules for poolside manners can and will prevent deaths, illnesses, and injuries like those of Emmy Miller and Erin Town.

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