LAGUNA HILLS, California – The father of a 3-year-old girl who died Saturday night after she accidentally drowned in a hot tub told KTLA News that he wants alert other parents about the dangers of children and swimming pools.
Ernie Susman told a KTLA news reporter that his daughter died during a neighbor’s birthday party celebration after the little girl wandered away from her mother and unclipped her own life vest prior to entering the hot tub. The pink life vest was found lying next to the hot tub where she was found dead about 15 minutes later.
“Don’t trust these life preservers,” Susman, who was holding the life vest as he spoke to the KTLA news reporter. “Don’t take your eye off your child for one second and don’t trust your neighbors, thinking they are going to keep an eye on your child.”
Roughly 60 people were attending the birthday party at the Alicia Plaza Apartments in the 25000 block of Stockport Street where 3-year-old Ellison Susman died including her mother who was nursing a 2-month-old sibling at the time of the accident.
The little girl was transported to Children’s Hospital of Orange County in Orange and was pronounced dead on Monday.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Preventing roughly 10 people die every day in the United States of unintentional drowning including two children under the age of 14 years old.
The highest drowning rates are for children ages 1 to 4 years old, the CDC said. In fact, roughly 30 percent of the children in this age group that died due to unintentional injuries in 2009 died from drowning, the CDC said.
Additionally, most of the children who drown in this age group are using residential swimming pools, however, for children ages 1 to 14 years old, drowning is the second leading cause of unintentional injury-related death as the No. 1 cause of death is motor vehicle crashes, the CDC said.