When it comes to pool safety, teaching your child how to swim isn't enough. Even if your child knows to walk on the pool deck and only swim when a lifeguard or adult is watching, there's another serious danger that's often overlooked. But after Alex Morgan's daughter almost died while on a family vacation, this furious mom is warning parents of another danger to look out for before their kiddos hit the pools this Summer.
When 6-year-old Darcey was enjoying a dip in the pool, she swam by a waterfall water feature. While the child's head was underwater, her hair got caught in the pool's filter and she got stuck. Unable to reach the surface, Darcey nearly drowned. "She was kept under the water for over two minutes," Alex shared on Facebook. "Some incredibly brave people saved our little girl's life that day. Her hair was pulled and pulled before it was ripped. Darcey was unconscious and had to be given CPR at the poolside."
Darcey was taken to the hospital, where she was kept overnight for low oxygen levels and fluid in her right lung. "This was the worst day of our lives. We are still suffering to come to terms with it all now but also feel incredibly lucky to still have our beautiful, brave little girl," Alex wrote. "Myself and Gareth don't want any other parents or family members to go through what we experienced that day. We will never get over what happened but if this post can raise some awareness, save someone's life, then we will be happy."
According to Elizabeth Klinefelter, Pool Safely campaign lead, parents should be aware of drain entrapment dangers at both public and private pools. "The federal government's drowning prevention program strongly recommends that children be taught to stay away from drains, suction outlets, and filters in swimming pools and spas," Elizabeth told POPSUGAR. "Children's hair — along with limbs, jewelry, or bathing suits — can get stuck in a drain or suction opening. In addition, parents and caregivers should never allow children to enter a pool or spa that has a loose, broken, or missing drain cover."
She also recommends that parents always locate the emergency vacuum shutoff before getting in a spa so that they know where and how to free someone if stuck.
The Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act was mandated in 2008 after a 7-year-old drowned due to a drain cover, and this federal law requires that all public pools, including hotels, schools, and apartment buildings, have the safer drain covers. According to a new Consumer Product Safety Commission report, there have still been 17 victims of entrapment from 2012-2016 and the majority of these cases involved kids.
"Children under the age of 15 are at risk of experiencing an entrapment incident, with higher fatality rates occurring in residential pools and spa settings," Elizabeth said. "Parents can never be too vigilant when their children are in or around the water to ensure everyone has a safer swimming experience."
Elizabeth also pointed out that residential pools are encouraged to install them but are not currently required to. This eye-opening video explains not only why pool drains can be so dangerous for kids but also that many pools across the country still have the flat drain covers and not the antientrapment version.
Every parent should take a minute to watch this video before their child's next trip to the pool: