As the weather becomes hot the allure to get back into the pool is inviting, and Fountain Hills/Rural Metro 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 drowned,” said Assistant Fire Chief/Fire Marshal Mike Winters. “Firefighters know that it only takes a short pause in supervision that allows a child to 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.
Drowning is the leading cause of unintentional death in Arizona for children from ages one to four. Families in Fountain Hills are not immune to fatal or non-fatal child drowning.
There are proven steps that can be taken to 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 precautions 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, iPads or conversations. If leaving the pool area is necessary take the child, making sure the pool self-closing gate latches securely when it closes. Keep 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. This includes such things 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 a 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 of Fountain Hills Parks and Recreation Department.