With the hot weather back for the summer the allure to get back into the swimming pool is inviting.
Fountain Hills/Rural Metro Assistant Chief/Fire Marshal Mike Winters said firefighters want to remind everyone that water safety practices and constant supervision is the cure to prevent child drowning and non- fatal drowning incidents.
“During this time of the year firefighters are preparing for brush fires and heat related incidents, but what gives them a greater concern is the call for a child that has drown,” Winters said. “Firefighters know that it only takes a short pause in supervision where a child can slip away and fall into a pool or any open body of water.”
Although there are documented drowning incidents for each month of the year they significantly increase during the spring and summer. Most children drown in backyard pools, but some children drown in areas of open water, toilets, buckets and bathtubs.
“The leading cause of unintentional death in Arizona for children ages 1 to 4 is drowning,” Winters said. “In that age group there have already been 23 water related incidents in the greater Phoenix/Maricopa county area [this year] sadly resulting in six child deaths.”
Families in Fountain Hills are not immune to fatal or non-fatal child drowning. There are proven steps that can prevent child drowning and the first is still the most important. Constant Supervision near water is the rule.
In addition to supervision there are other pre-cautions that will provide additional safety for children.
*Never leave a child or children unattended in the water or pool area for any reason. Don’t be distracted by doorbells, phone calls, chores, IPods or conversations. If you must leave the pool area, take the child with you, making sure the pool self-closing gate latches securely when it closes. Keep your eyes and ears open at all times.
*Never lose focus on children during pool parties or gatherings. Designate yourself or a capable person to be the child water watcher who must be in constant contact with kids in or around the pool.
*Block access to the pool and spa from the house by installing approved barriers. Repair broken gates, fences and nets.
*Keep climbing objects away from pool fences such as tables, chairs or large play toys.
*Don’t leave toys or floating devices in pool area, children will be drawn to retrieve them.
*Educate babysitters, grandparents and care givers on water safety and constant supervision when they watch your children.
*If your child ever goes under water and appears to have swallowed or breathed in water call 9-1-1.
*Swimming lessons are a great tool to give your child an understanding for water safety.
*Learn CPR by taking a class and stay updated. Classes and updates are available every month through the Town Parks and Recreation Department.