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June 15, 2007

Summer hasn’t officially begun but already an escalating number of water-related tragedies have occurred in Orange County. Children’s Hospital of Orange County (CHOC) reminds parents that children need constant supervision in and around water.

“Drowning could happen to any child. It has nothing to do with how good a parent you are; it only takes a few seconds of your attention being diverted elsewhere,” alerts Michelle Feczko, Health and Wellness Coordinator at CHOC.

Drowning is a leading cause of unintentional injury-related death in children ages 0 to 4. It is a silent event that tragically claims an average of eight Orange County children every year. It happens quickly, too. Children younger than age 4 can lose consciousness in 30 seconds or less. Within four to six minutes brain damage can occur.

Follow the suggested guidelines below to ensure water activities remain safe for your children:

General Water Safety Tips

  • Never leave children alone in or near water, even a shallow wading pool. Children can drown in as little as one inch of water and it can happen in a matter of seconds.
  • Adults and children over the age of 13 should learn infant and child CPR.
  • Only strong swimmers should swim in the ocean, due to the changing nature of waves and undertows.
  • Never assume your child is “drown-proof,” even if the child has had swimming lessons.
  • Designate an official “Water Watcher” at your next pool party to make sure someone is keeping an eye on the water at all times. Children have drowned at pool parties while adults were present.
  • Swimming lessons are not a substitute for constant adult supervision. The American Academy of Pediatrics states that “generally, children are not developmentally ready for swimming lessons until after their fourth birthday.”

Protection Around Water

  • Invest in fencing, gates, locks, alarms and covers for pools and spas.
  • Install locks and alarms on all doors and windows leading into the pool area.
  • Latch the toilet seat, and limit your child’s access to the bathroom.
  • Empty buckets and ice chests as soon as you’re finished with them.
  • Never leave your child alone in the bathtub.
  • Learn infant/child CPR and be ready to use it if necessary.

Named one of the best children’s hospitals by U.S. News & World Report (2014-2015) and a 2013 Leapfrog Top Hospital for the highest quality of care, Children’s Hospital of Orange County (CHOC Children's) is exclusively committed to the health and well-being of children through clinical expertise, advocacy, outreach, education and research that brings advanced treatment to pediatric patients. Affiliated with the University of California, Irvine, CHOC’s regional health care network includes two state-of-the-art hospitals in Orange and Mission Viejo, many primary and specialty care clinics, a pediatric residency program, and four clinical centers of excellence - the CHOC Children’s Heart, Neuroscience, Orthopaedic and Hyundai Cancer Institutes..

CHOC earned the Gold Level CAPE Award from the California Council of Excellence, the only children’s hospital in California to ever earn this distinction, and was awarded Magnet designation, the highest honor bestowed to hospitals for nursing excellence.  Recognized for extraordinary commitment to high-quality critical care standards, CHOC’s Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) is the first in the United States to earn the Beacon Award for Pediatric Critical Care Excellence.


Media Contact:
Monica Garcia, Sr. Public Relations Specialist
phone: (714) 289-4183
email: pr@chocchildrens.org


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Children's Hospital of Orange County is affiliated with UC Irvine Healthcare and UC Irvine School of Medicine

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