In wake of 2 Va. toddlers drowning, a summer safety reminder from pediatrician

WASHINGTON — Two twins, who were 2 years old, died after they were discovered floating in a residential pool in Sterling, Virginia, Saturday morning.

“Circumstances at this point appear to be a tragic accident, but the case remains under investigation,” Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Kraig Troxell said.

It serves as a grim reminder for safety around water, which is first on the list of potential summertime hazards for children noted by pediatrician Lee Savio Beers, medical director for municipal and regional affairs for the Children’s National Health System.

“Summer is a really fun time for kids; it’s a time where they’re out, they running around, they’re playing,” Beers said. “But, that also means that it’s a time where they can do things that are unsafe or they can get injured.”

Water safety

Beers said water safety is probably one of the most important things to be attentive to as a parent.

“Even if your child is a very good swimmer, they should always be supervised; they should never swim alone,” Beers said.

Even in circumstances where there’s a lifeguard, Beers recommends a child’s caregiver pay attention. “Be sure that you have someone who is watching your child specifically just to make sure that everything is OK,” Beers said. “Drowning can be silent, and it can happen in an instant.”

When you and your children are out in open water in a boat, canoe, or kayak, Beers advised, use life vests.

“Where you’re out on water and you can’t see the bottom, that’s a good guideline for you to know that you should be wearing an approved flotation device,” Beers said.

All-terrain vehicles

“It’s one of those things where some kids really love them; they’re fun, they’re fast — but they really are very dangerous,” Beers said. “So, we recommend keeping kids off ATV’s.”

That goes for all children and adolescents. Beers said you should be adult-sized before riding an ATV.

Beers recalls treating children with broken bones and, even more concerning, head injuries.

“We can usually treat your broken arm, your broken leg. But, broken heads are a lot harder to attend to — that’s something we worry a lot about,” Beers said.


There are a couple different ways you can get injured on a trampoline: most notably, falling off and/or hitting a fellow bouncer.

“More of the injuries on trampolines happen when children are bumping into each other, ramming into each other, or … falling on an arm or a limb and breaking a bone,” Beers said.

In case children encounter a trampoline at a friend’s house, Beers recommends parents talk to kids, tell them how dangerous trampolines can be and ask them not to go on them.

“It may be hard not to get on it if all their friends are doing it, but they can find other fun things to do,” Beers said.

While there are lots of safety issues to think about over summer, Beers said, being outdoors and playing with friends is healthy for them physically and emotionally.

“It’s much better to be outside running and playing and getting dirty than being inside, playing with your phone, or playing with your device, or watching TV,” Beers said. “Be careful, but get outside and have fun!”

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Kristi King

Kristi King is a veteran reporter who has been working in the WTOP newsroom since 1990. She covers everything from breaking news to consumer concerns and the latest medical developments.

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