Cindy Speaker: Good afternoon, my name is Cindy Speaker and I have with me today attorney David Daggett of Daggett Shuler, attorneys at law. David, how are you?
David Daggett: Good. Hi Cindy. How are you?
Cindy Speaker: I’m good. It’s always good to see you.
David Daggett: Good to be with you. I also want to bring up this is the first time we’ve talked since your mother passed away.
Cindy Speaker: Yes, it is.
David Daggett: A delightful lady, always smiled. I always enjoyed visiting her. And I’ll miss her, so we were all thinking of you and your family.
Cindy Speaker: Thank you so much.
David Daggett: And the other question I have is who’s going to make me ham loaf when I visit?
Cindy Speaker: Exactly. It’s not going to be me.
David Daggett: Well, your mother made the best ham loaf of anybody on Earth.
Cindy Speaker: Yes, she did.
David Daggett: That’s one of my many good memories of her.
Cindy Speaker: Well, that’s so sweet. Well, she always asked about you and always loved it when you were coming to town, and that’s great. Well, David, we have a timely topic today. We’re going to talk about child swim safety and I believe you know a good bit about this, with your background and all of your athleticism. So let’s start off and talk about how vigilant does a family and parents need to be in regards to taking their children’s swimming?
David Daggett: Well, what I want to start with is in, this is a stunning statistic in that is that for children under four death by drowning is the leading cause of death other than some congenital birth defect, the leading cause. More kids die drowning then they die in car accidents. It’s the leading cause, but we don’t hear that and I’m not sure why we don’t hear that. Maybe because when these things happen, they’re so sad and they’re so personal that the public just, I mean, there’s not an outcry about it. To me, there seems to be some sort of disconnect there.
Cindy Speaker: Yeah, I agree.
David Daggett: Earlier this year, Olympic skier, Bodie Miller, and his wife, lost their toddler daughter to a drowning incident and it was one of those things that was really a wakeup call for me, in that, particularly with toddlers, but any child drowning incidence happen very, very fast, and they’re not like you see in the movies where you think about that there’re flailing and screaming and fighting for your breath. It’s actually a very quiet, quick thing that happens, and that’s what so scary.
David Daggett: That’s why it’s the leading cause of death for children under four, is a child slips off to a swimming pool, and usually at that age, we’re talking about swimming pool, but we could be talking about a bathtub or we could be talking about a creek or a lake or anything else, but slips off to a swimming pool, a backyard pool or something like that, and in 20 to 30 seconds they’re gone.
David Daggett: There was another popular or not a popular, newsworthy story of a child drowning earlier this year. There was a get-together at parents’ house, no drinking involved, no bad or untoward activity. Mother splits a brownie with the toddler son, turns around, takes her bite of the brownie, turns back around, sees the door cracked, can’t find her son with the little kids, the stories mostly right, I’m going by memory. Takes off running to the backyard, dives in the pool, the son dies from drowning. She still has the brownie and her mouth.
David Daggett: That’s stark to me that in the time period you take a bite of Brownie, you turn around, you don’t see your son, you take off running, it happens that fast. What that means is, is we have to spread the awareness. We have to be aware of those dangers. Not only is it the leading cause of death, under four-years-old, but for everyone that dies, there’re five others that it’s a near death, but have the effects, which can range from illness, brain injury, what have you from the water suffocation.
David Daggett: So this is a very, very serious topic, particularly, and I’m going to say this over and over, particularly, with our toddlers or kids four-years-old and under, but incredibly, they happened. We had one here recently in town, terribly sad story and I believe the young man was seven years old and it was in an apartment swimming pool, and so it just takes a second for that to happen.
Cindy Speaker: But you know, of all the things that you just spoke of, the thing that really stood out the most to me, and I had seen this in my preparation, is the idea that when the child drowns, there’s no flailing, there’s no cries for help. [crosstalk 00:05:55] it really happens and there’s just no ability for the parent whoever is there to notice.
David Daggett: No, and I think that’s what makes it a little bit of a deceptive death trap, is you think you can listen for trouble. You can’t listen for trouble. They slide away and it’s gone. So when you have young children and water anywhere anywhere around, don’t let them out of your sight. We have drownings every now and then at public swimming pools that have lifeguards. The lifeguards, their job is to enforce the rules and that sort of thing, they don’t watch your toddler slide away and potentially into danger.
Cindy Speaker: That’s a great point right there.
David Daggett: No, no it’s a super point. I mean, in our local pool, we have very good lifeguards, but they’re teenage kids. But by the way, the ages five to 15, drowning is the second leading cause of death. So I mean, it doesn’t go away once you’re after four. And so it’s very, very important to remember that goes on. But at our local pools, at the pool we go to, which is just a nice casual neighborhood pool, you have teenage lifeguards. Well, they’ve got a gazillion things going on and a toddler can slip away, as we said, there’re no flailing of the arms, no screaming, anything like that. It is very quiet. It can happen in 20 to 30 seconds. Death can happen in 20 to 30 seconds. Very, very, very, very fast.
Cindy Speaker: Devastating. David, tell us a little bit about what you’ve done. Your children are growing up, but what did you do with your children in order to keep them safe? Because I know you’re diligent about safety.
David Daggett: Yeah. Well, you know, I think everybody thinks they’re diligent about safety when they’re with their kids, and if water is anywhere around, I mean most of us, you don’t let your toddler or infant out of your site anyway, but you don’t let them out of your sight if water’s around. Number two, you establish rules right from the beginning so that they know they stay away from water and they know that water is dangerous. And then I think the other things that you have to do is it’s a continuing ongoing process.
David Daggett: You know, I get up at 4:15 every morning. I’m at the pool at 4:45 in the summertime. I swim at the outdoor pool where I have the keys to the pool. One of the guys was late the other morning, and I just did pushups and stuff on the side of the pool, until another guy showed up and he said, “Well, I figured you’d be in swimming by now,” I said, “Oh, no, no, no, I do not swim if there’s not somebody else there.” With adults who drown, most of the time it’s good swimmers, because people who aren’t good swimmers know better than to get in. So you got to have … that can’t be a 99% of the time rule. That’s a 100% of the time rule.
Cindy Speaker: It’s a great point, because if someone had a heart attack or something like that-
David Daggett: or bump your head on the side, I mean it can be something very simple and innocent that you need to have.
Cindy Speaker: Great point.
David Daggett: So that’s always, always, always have a buddy or some other form of supervision. Learning CPR is very important. In fact, our local firefighters, which I’m pointing this way because they’re across the street, well, one of them said that on their water rescues and in responding to water events that having somebody that knows CPR, start CPR and continues it until they get there is absolutely crucial for any sort of incident, but particularly in a drowning type incident. You have to continue to stress those issues with children. You can’t tell them when they’re five and think they’re going to just keep that until they’re 15. You have to keep repeating that as they’re around water so that they understand a healthy respect, always have a buddy, always keep an eye out for each other, always look out for somebody in distress.
David Daggett: And most drownings occur in swimming pools, so that’s the vast majority, across the country. They do happen in bathtubs, but second to swimming pools would be natural water, and interesting, for the older children, more drownings occur in natural water, so rivers, lakes, ocean, that sort of thing. You have to be very respectful of currents. I’m a very, very good swimmer, but I can’t beat a strong current. I can’t do it. And so you have to be very, very, respectful of currents.
David Daggett: I hate bringing up bad events, but it was four or five years ago we had a judge, here in North Carolina, good friend of mine from law school, was at the beach, two people in trouble out where there was a rip current, in the ocean, down at Sunset Beach. He goes out to help them, saved both of them, ended up drowning in the process himself. I mean, just a horrible, horrible event, but you know, it can happen. And he was an athlete, he was a strong guy. It can happen to anybody. You have to respect those currents, you have to respect water.
Cindy Speaker: David, a lot of this that you’re saying, I don’t think it’s, a lot of these points are not widely known. What can we do to raise awareness?
David Daggett: Well, I think there’re a number of things that we can do. Number one, as you and me discussed earlier, what we’re going to put together a very short, but easy-to-read eBook that we’ll make available for free, and we’ll try to get that done the next couple of weeks, because it’s awareness. You got to be aware of the danger before you can do anything about the danger. It’s the communication for most of us that are aware to others. It’s positive peer pressure that is making sure your buddies are following the same rules that you’re following.
David Daggett: And then the community support, we need to, when we see these issues, we need to make people aware. Again, Bodie Miller said after his is child drowned, No one ever told them that drowning was the leading cause of death for toddlers. We’re just-
Cindy Speaker: I didn’t know that either.
David Daggett: You just don’t hear that, other than congenital birth problems, drownings the number one cause, above auto accidents. Who would ever think that? So look at all the time, we’ve done it here, all the time, the effort, the initiatives we put in to child safety seats in that sort of thing, when drowning is a bigger risk, we should be putting that much time, energy and communicating that I’m in the same sort of way.
So another type of drowning that parents are completely unaware of is what’s called dry drowning, and that’s where a toddler or infant has gulped a large amount of water. We used to say, “Goes down the wrong pipe.” It goes into their lungs instead of their stomach, they have the water in their lungs, later on, they lay down, what have you, that water gurgles and they end up dry drowning. They call it dry drowning, because it’s not actually while they’re in the pool. It happens later from water they’ve breathed in.
Cindy Speaker: Yeah, that’s a great point. You talked a little bit about the dangers for older kids, but let’s not leave that topic until you give us just a little further explanation of some of those dangers for older kids.
David Daggett: Well, here’s the problem with older kids, is they can swim and typically in a local swimming pool for … What they do, which is very good, is at local swimming pools before you can go into the deep end, they put a bracelet around your wrist and to get the bracelet around your wrists, they give you a quick test, which is swim one length of the pool, and then tread water for a minute. Okay. So that’s good. Now, you can go into the deep end of the swimming pool. Well, the problem is that older kids now think they’re “swimmers.” Okay, so they get with friends, they go to a lake, they go to a river, something like that, they have more confidence than they should for their ability. That overconfidence gets them in trouble very, very quickly.
David Daggett: So that’s number one is I have a healthy respect for the water and you know, in some circles I’m close to world class for open water swimming. So have a healthy respect for the water. Number two, understand that there is a big difference between a swimming pool with lifeguards, and I’m talking for the older kids, swimming pool with lifeguards that’s a contained environment than a river, lake pond, those sort of things. And have a very, very healthy respect for that. Always be with a buddy and always enforce with each other that we got to keep an eye out for each other and practice safety.
Cindy Speaker: Yeah, absolutely. About the eBook, I just want to make sure we make that available. If anybody wants to go ahead and put a comment in here, give us your information, let us find you on Facebook or whatever. We’ll make sure you get that eBook when it’s ready. We want to get that out to families, especially families with young kids,
David Daggett: And we will put that up on our Facebook Page and probably website, that sort of thing. And then we can also, can’t we put it as a comment to this video?
Cindy Speaker: Yes, we can, we’ll do that.
David Daggett: Yeah, well, we’ll do that too. Good. Good.
Cindy Speaker: Anything else, David, on this topic before we go? It’s been terrific.
David Daggett: No, no. I’m going to repeat it again for under four-years-old, deaths by drowning is the number one cause of death and, and we have to make parents aware of that danger and that risk.
Cindy Speaker: David, you see sometimes the really sad side of things like this, if someone has had a child that has drowned or is in that kind of a situation, how can they reach out to your firm for advice, for a consultation?
David Daggett: Sure. Well, they can do it through this Facebook Page and do it through our website, they can give us a call, 336-724-1234, any of those venues, and we’ll be happy to answer any questions anybody has.
Cindy Speaker: Great. As always, terrific talking to you.
David Daggett: Yeah. Best wishes to you and your whole extended family, Cindy. Thank you.
Cindy Speaker: Thank you, David. Okay, thanks everyone for being with us. Whether you’re live or on replay, remember if you have questions, comments, you can leave them right on this page and David will answer them for you. Thanks, everybody. Bye.