In his recent story about his childhood near fatal drowning event, will.i.am of the Black Eyed Peas can teach us all a thing or two about drowning prevention. After his mother told him adamantly to keep out of and stay away from swimming pools because he did not know how to swim, he did exactly what his mother asked him not to do. Although he was a non-swimmer he entered the shallow, three foot section of a swimming pool and walked directly into water over his head. Although he was submerged for 3-4 minutes, he was successfully resuscitated. In another recent publication the CDC discovered boys were three times more likely to drown then girls. The point here is that while we continually blame parents for not watching their children, many young kids, especially boys, have a surprising knack of escaping their parents and getting into unguarded swimming pools unnoticed.
I hope this rapper’s story motivates owners and operators of unguarded pools to kick it up a notch when considering Layers of Protection for drowning prevention. While chain link fence is the most common pool barrier in the U.S. because of its durability and affordability, a chain link fence is like a ladder to a young boy. Adding just one additional layer of protection to each unguarded pool would probably prevent a heck of a lot of drownings. Taller fences with vertical slats, self-closing, self-latching gates, pool alarms, and safety covers are just few examples of additional layers of protection that could be affordably added to most pools. We can do better.