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The Swimming Pool or the Gun?

 
 
Reply Sun 12 Jun, 2005 09:24 am
http://www.dailystar.com/dailystar/news/79388.php


Which of these is a greater danger? (GUNS vs. Pools)
Arizona Daily Star ^ | June 12, 2005 | Eric Swedlund



They're pulled from backyard pools and bathtubs each year, tiny limp bodies, blue and not breathing.

A young life can vanish quickly under water. A survivor can endure a lifetime of disabilities. Either way, families are torn apart by an almost always preventable tragedy.

Standard summer companions in our desert climate, swimming pools can be deadlier for children than guns. A child is 100 times more likely to die in a swimming accident than in gunplay, writes Steven D. Levitt, University of Chicago economics professor and best-selling author.

Levitt analyzed child deaths from residential swimming pools and guns and found one child under 10 drowns annually for every 11,000 pools. By comparison, one child under 10 each year is killed by a gun for every 1 million guns, according to his research, outlined in a new book "Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side to Everything," which he co-wrote with journalist Stephen J. Dubner.

In part because they are so familiar, swimming pools are less frightening than guns, Levitt writes.

But the danger is clear - drowning is the leading cause of accidental death for children younger than 5 in Arizona and the second-leading cause of injury-related death nationally among children younger than 15.

Water kills an average of three children each year in Tucson and, even with proper fences, swimming lessons and caution, danger lurks.

"Living with a swimming pool in your back yard is like living next to the Grand Canyon," said Dr. Bob Berg, a pediatric intensive specialist at University Medical Center and a UA professor. "You should never feel comfortable there."

"It happened in blink of an eye."

Nothing can prepare a parent to pull a limp child from the water, wondering whether a moment of inattention has led to tragic, lifelong consequences.

On a February 2004 afternoon, Matilda Gits wheeled her 18-month-old son, Michael, in a wagon to a playground near a small lake in their East Side development. As Michael sat in the shade beneath the playground structure playing with wood chips, Gits leafed through her mail.

"When I turned around to check on him, he was gone," she said. "I didn't know where he was, but I knew I didn't have a lot of time to figure it out."

Gits looked toward the street, then toward the fenced pool on the other side of the playground. She still couldn't see her son, and started running toward the lake.

"I remember running, thinking I can't run this fast, then running faster," she said.

Michael was in the lake, under water. His lips were blue, his eyes rolled back in his head. Twelve weeks pregnant, Gits dived in, grabbed Michael from the water, slammed him on the back, and yelled, "Breathe!"

Michael started crying and neighbors called 911. Michael, now 3, is just fine, but the what-ifs still plague his mother.

After the accident, Gits pushed her neighborhood to install a fence separating the playground from the lake.

"I'm not irresponsible. If this could happen to me, it could happen to anyone. It happened in the blink of an eye," she said. "For a long time, when I'd drive down the street and hear an ambulance, I'd get sick to my stomach."

Preventable devastation

About 88 percent of children who drowned were under some form of supervision, according to a survey for the National SAFE Kids Campaign.

Small distractions such as talking to somebody, reading, eating or using the phone were a factor in most of the cases. The survey found parents are overconfident in their children's safety and abilities in water and need to be more active in supervising children.

"If something terrible really does happen, that's bad enough. If a child dies or is neurologically devastated, families don't get over it," said Berg, the UMC pediatrician. "Their life has been permanently changed in a way that's hard for most of us to believe.

"When a child dies, the devastation to a family is just overwhelming. That's true for almost all child deaths, but one of the things that's dramatic about car accidents and drowning is a few minutes before that, everything is fine. A minute later, that whole dream is shattered."

Medical costs for a near-drowning victim can be nearly $200,000 a year for long-term care and a child suffering brain damage may need millions of dollars in medical care, according to the National SAFE Kids Campaign. As many as 20 percent of near-drowning victims have severe permanent neurological damage.

There is a high divorce rate among parents who have had a child drown and many parents experience long-term psychological effects, Berg said.

Lingering effects

Lynne Gonzales knows all too well about the medical and psychological costs of a near-drowning.

In 1984, Gonzales' son Tony was 17 years old and nearly out of school for the summer when some friends pushed him into the deep end of a pool.

They didn't know he couldn't swim.

By the time they jumped in to save him, the damage had been done.

For the next 13 years, Tony lingered with severe brain damage from lack of oxygen.

"In some ways that has a much worse or longer effect than drowning," Gonzales said.

After the accident, Tony spent time in three hospitals and finally was admitted to a nursing home.

The years that followed, whether he was at home or a nursing home, Tony needed care around the clock due to a tracheotomy and a gastrotomy tube. His parents fought daily with insurance companies, all the while struggling to raise Tony's three younger sisters.

Tony's family is certain he recognized them, but he never spoke again. He could communicate by blinking his eyes, but it was inconsistent.

"There were moments of joy when Tony learned to sit, to stand, to swallow," said Gonzales, who moved to SaddleBrooke last year from Milwaukee. "If you worked closely with him you could see that much of his personality was still intact."

Tony needed around-the-clock nursing care and was at home for about six years after the accident. He died suddenly at a nursing home in 1997.

"You lose a part of your own future," Gonzales said. "You miss all those things that might have been."

The pain of a drowning or near-drowning is never-ending, said Dr. Barb Smith, a member of the Arizona chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics. Smith has dealt with several families who have lost a child to drowning.

"Families are devastated by it in a way they're not if they have a child who dies from leukemia or some other equally tragic event," Smith said. "What makes drowning different is it's always someone's fault. It's preventable and there's so much remorse about that."[CODE]
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Type: Discussion • Score: 0 • Views: 1,983 • Replies: 19
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edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Sun 12 Jun, 2005 09:35 am
If we throw them in the pools first, it would be like shooting fish in a brrel. Great fun.
0 Replies
 
boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Sun 12 Jun, 2005 10:02 am
Clearly we should remove all of the water from Earth.
0 Replies
 
gungasnake
 
  1  
Reply Sun 12 Jun, 2005 10:41 am
boomerang wrote:
Clearly we should remove all of the water from Earth.


That would be the democrat solution for sure. Swimming pools sound dangerous enough that I wouldn't want to have one until any kids I was trying to raise were ten or eleven.
0 Replies
 
Cycloptichorn
 
  1  
Reply Sun 12 Jun, 2005 10:44 am
Perhpas we should equip laser-guided guns AROUND the swimming pools in order to keep kids from wandering in.

Cycloptichorn
0 Replies
 
DontTreadOnMe
 
  1  
Reply Sun 12 Jun, 2005 11:51 am
upon birth, all children must be trained in the use of side arms and heavy weapons so that they may carry jihad to the pool manufacturers.
0 Replies
 
JustWonders
 
  1  
Reply Sun 12 Jun, 2005 11:56 am
DontTreadOnMe wrote:
upon birth, all children must be trained in the use of side arms and heavy weapons so that they may carry jihad to the pool manufacturers.


LOL!

Got this in my email this morning, DTOM Smile

Moving to California

Chuck was sitting in an airliner when another fellow took a seat
beside him. The new guy was an absolute wreck.... he was pale, his hands were shaking, he was biting his nails and moaning in fear.
"Hey pal, what's the matter?" Chuck asked.
"Oh man.... I've been transferred to California," the other guy answered.
"There's crazy people in California .... and they have shootings, gangs,
race riots, drugs, rapes, the highest crime rate...."
"Hold on," Chuck interrupted. "I've lived in California all my life
and it is not as bad as the media says. Find a nice home, go to work, mind
your own business, enroll your kids in a good school, and it's as safe as
anywhere in the world."
The other passenger relaxed and stopped shaking for a moment and
said, "Thank you. I've been worried to death but if you live there and say
it's OK, I'll take your word for it. By the way, what do you do for a
living?"





"Me?" said Chuck. "I'm a tail gunner on a bread truck in Oakland."

Laughing Razz Laughing
0 Replies
 
DontTreadOnMe
 
  1  
Reply Sun 12 Jun, 2005 12:13 pm
california is not dangerous !! it's a dirty lie !!! how dare you ?!?!

so good day to you. i have to go and check the generator on the perimeter fence...


Laughing
0 Replies
 
JustWonders
 
  1  
Reply Sun 12 Jun, 2005 12:22 pm
LOL. No, but shaky as heck. Just heard about the earthquake. Be safe.
0 Replies
 
joefromchicago
 
  1  
Reply Sun 12 Jun, 2005 02:28 pm
The day someone is killed in a drive-by drowning is the day that we can start comparing swimming pools and guns.
0 Replies
 
gungasnake
 
  1  
Reply Sun 12 Jun, 2005 04:02 pm
joefromchicago wrote:
The day someone is killed in a drive-by drowning is the day that we can start comparing swimming pools and guns.


Drive by shootings are a drug problem and not a gun problem. Get rid of the insane "war on drugs" and there won't be any more drive by shootings.
0 Replies
 
joefromchicago
 
  1  
Reply Sun 12 Jun, 2005 06:13 pm
gungasnake wrote:
Drive by shootings are a drug problem and not a gun problem. Get rid of the insane "war on drugs" and there won't be any more drive by shootings.

Police search for link in Wilmette cafe shooting
Associated Press
Posted Sunday, June 12, 2005

Wilmette police on Saturday attempted to establish a connection between a man who killed himself and a single mother he is accused of fatally shooting outside a restaurant where she worked as a waitress.

Candice Sepehri, 32, of Wilmette was pronounced dead shortly after she was gunned down from a car Friday as she took her lunch in the outdoor sidewalk seating area at C.J. Arthur's, a popular restaurant in downtown Wilmette.

Her 4-year-old daughter, Sholeh, also was wounded in the attack. She was treated for multiple gunshot wounds at St. Francis Hospital in Evanston, where she is in fair condition, a hospital spokeswoman said Saturday night.

Wilmette police Chief George E. Carpenter said in a statement that Sepehri's second daughter, 2-year-old Manaje, also was with her at the time but was not injured.

The shooter was identified as Richard F. Kahle, 27, of Winnetka, police said.

After the shooting, police received a report that a man with a gun was in a residential neighborhood near the restaurant. Police then found Kahle's body in a backyard a few blocks away from the restaurant. Investigators said they found a shotgun and a handgun with his body.

"It appears he used the shotgun on himself," Carpenter said.

Kahle died of a single self-inflicted shot to the head, according to the Cook County medical examiner's office.

Police said they had no motive in the shootings, and Carpenter said investigators did not believe there had been any personal relationship between Kahle and the victim, although they appeared to have been acquainted through mutual friends.

More information may be released today, police said....

Witnesses on Friday said prior to the shootings that it had been a normal and sunny afternoon along the downtown strip that is dotted with small shops.

"People were eating outside, and someone drove by and shot from a car," said Kristin Raymond, another waitress at C.J. Arthur's....
____________________________________________________

Drive-by shootings are a drug problem? Yeah, right.
0 Replies
 
edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Sun 12 Jun, 2005 07:06 pm
Solve drive-bys by revoking their licenses. Duh.
0 Replies
 
DontTreadOnMe
 
  1  
Reply Mon 13 Jun, 2005 10:54 am
drive-bys are a gang thing. existed before the drug culture. and before prohibition for that matter. most of the gangs do have some involvement in hard drug trade, but that's not what motivates the violence.

usually, drive-bys are motivated by turf disputes, revenge, simple perceived dissing and the most sensless reason; as part of getting jumped in. we had a kid out here, about 16 i think, that waited for a chp officer to come out of a building, then just blew the guy away. didn't know him. it was only important that he should take out a cop to pick up creds for gang membership.

when i used to have to deal with these guys it just blew my mind that they had no problem bragging about the crap they pull in front of me. no respect for anybody or anything. it's truly bizarre...
0 Replies
 
DontTreadOnMe
 
  1  
Reply Mon 13 Jun, 2005 11:03 am
JustWonders wrote:
LOL. No, but shaky as heck. Just heard about the earthquake. Be safe.


thanx jw. it centered out towards palm springs way, so we didn't feel much. our part of the hills sits on top of huge table of solid rock, so it really has to get up there before we get the full effect, which for us is more like a see saw than a trampoline. wayyyyy-ooohhhh, wayyyyy-oooohhhhh !! Laughing

but since they're predicting a little more activity from the event, i'm off to the studio today to batten down the hatches.

btw, we've officially gotten into june gloom, so start packing your bags, almost beach weather. :wink:
0 Replies
 
yitwail
 
  1  
Reply Mon 13 Jun, 2005 11:22 am
if the intent is to lower childhood death rate, eliminating automobiles would achieve more than eliminating pools & guns combined.
0 Replies
 
DontTreadOnMe
 
  1  
Reply Mon 13 Jun, 2005 11:30 am
getting back to the teaching of self respect and respect for others wouldn't hurt either...
0 Replies
 
joefromchicago
 
  1  
Reply Mon 13 Jun, 2005 11:35 am
yitwail wrote:
if the intent is to lower childhood death rate, eliminating automobiles would achieve more than eliminating pools & guns combined.

Just as the greatest cause of divorce is marriage, the greatest cause of children dying is children being born. So just get rid of childbirth and you've got the problem licked!
0 Replies
 
yitwail
 
  1  
Reply Mon 13 Jun, 2005 11:44 am
we could also "lick" the health problems associated with obesity by creating food shortages. and much money spent for dentistry could be saved by replacing candy and soda with vegetables and water. ;-)
0 Replies
 
JustWonders
 
  1  
Reply Mon 13 Jun, 2005 12:24 pm
DontTreadOnMe wrote:
JustWonders wrote:
LOL. No, but shaky as heck. Just heard about the earthquake. Be safe.



btw, we've officially gotten into june gloom, so start packing your bags, almost beach weather. :wink:


Yeah - I talked to my friends in San Diego yesterday and they didn't feel the earthquake either - although it appeared closer to them on the map than to L.A.

They mentioned the June 'gloom' LOL. I'm already packed Smile
0 Replies
 
 

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