News stories about the drowning death of Carlos Alejandro Flores report that there were not enough life guards at the Great America wave pool on July 12, 2007. Witnesses report that rescue and response time was slow. The details about how much adult supervision was available the day Carlos was killed are unclear. Since last summer, Great America has reportedly taken measures to improve safety precautions at the wave pool.
Drowning is the second leading cause of death in small children. According to the CDC, children between the ages of one and four years of age are more likely to drown in swimming pools and hot tubs. Mortality rates secondary to drowning are three times higher for males. Approximately 78% of drowning victims are male. Unlike adults, young children do not call out for help while in distress, they generally drown silently. Near-drowning accidents can result in permanent brain damage. For every child that drowns there are approximately five near-drowning episodes in children. Drowning is the second highest cause of injury-related deaths in children between the ages of one and nine years old.
Supervise toddlers at all times while they are playing in the pool. Stationary pools should have a locked fence around them. Personal well-fitting flotation devices should be on all children during water recreation. Never leave a toddler unsupervised during play time in or near the water. Because young children do not call out for help while in distress, they need supervision for this reason. Lapses in adult supervision, even while parents are around but distracted, are very common features of drowning accidents. Introducing swimming lessons and water safety at a young age will reduce the likelihood of drowning or near-drowning mishaps through the lifespan of a child.