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Near drowning sparks hot tub safety awareness

In 2014, Riverside County reported 21 drownings and 57 near drownings. So far in 2015, there have been only been close calls.

“Drowning is personified as lots of noise and splashing but in reality it’s very quiet and very sudden and very abrupt,” said Stephen Little, founder of the non-profit organization Swim to Win.

A person can drown in less than 30 seconds. It’s a silent killer and something Little dedicated his life to prevent.

He says there are things parents can do to keep their kids safe.

“The number one thing really is to recognize that a hot tub is just as dangerous as a swimming pool and the second thing is never substitute adult supervision for anything,” explained Little.

More than half of the drownings reported last year happened to children under four years old — most parents don’t expect it to happen in a hot tub.

“There are six individual drains or intakes on the bottom of this hot tub,” said Little.

That’s more pumping power than five swimming pools combined. Most hot tubs are around three and a half feet deep, but it only takes two inches of water for a child to drown. If you’re there when it happens Little says remove the child from the water, call 911 and remain calm.

“When children aren’t screaming or there’s not a lot of noise or confusion as parents, I have two small ones, it makes us feel safe,” Little said.

But more often than not — it’s the first sign they aren’t.

Children as young as six months old can learn how to swim. Swim to Win, Little’s organization, is dedicated to teaching kids to swim and water safety. Click here to visit the organization’s website.

KESQ News Team

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