County officials hope downward trend in drowning deaths continues

County officials hope downward trend in drowning deaths continues

By Michael Lopardi. CREATED May 27, 2013

Las Vegas, NV (KTNV) - The holiday weekend offered a perfect opportunity to take a dip in the pool, but also served as a reminder of the dangers children face near the water.

So far this year, Clark County has not reported any deadly drownings involving children. The Southern Nevada Child Drowning Prevention Coalition, a non-profit advocacy group, said this is the longest period without a fatal child drowning in roughly 20 years.

"Typically at this time of the year, we've had at least one fatality," said coalition chair Gregory Blackburn. "This year we have not had any fatalities."

The coalition hopes to keep it that way. Meanwhile, several families made a splash at the Las Vegas Municipal Pool on Monday.

"I just like the water," said Anthony Zondiros, 9."It's fun to do front flips and cartwheels in the water."

Anthony knows how to swim and he knows the rules of the pool.

"You have to stay by your parents and you can't like wander off," said Zondiros.

The coalition said parents, especially, have to be on the lookout.

"Even if they're good swimmers, you really have to keep an eye on them," said parent Michael Bnoun.

The coalition recommends parents take advantage of swimming lessons, use proper floatation devices and designate at least one adult to watch children in and near the water. Blackburn said many drownings do not include dramatic calls for help but silent moments when a child goes under the water and does not resurface.

"It can happen to anyone at any time," said Blackburn. "No one's immune from it."

Roughly two-thirds of all drownings in Clark County in 2012 took place in residential pools, according to numbers from the Southern Nevada Health District. From 2007-2011, drowning was one of the leading causes of accidental death for children in the county, according to the Nevada Institute for Children's Research and Policy.