Never too early to remember the 'ABCs' of drowning prevention | Families
Warmer weather is just over the horizon for Southern Arizona, and swimming pool season is right there with it. This means that parents must take the necessary precautions to ensure the safety of their children and others in and around the water.
Drowning is 100 percent preventable and yet it continues to occur in Tucson and surrounding communities every year. The most effective way to prevent this tragedy is to create multiple layers of protection around the pool and rely on the ABC’S of drowning prevention.
The following are the ABC’s of drowning prevention:
Active Adult Supervision - is the first line of defense against drowning. A ‘Designated Child Watcher’ is responsible for supervising the children when they are in or near the water. The Designated Child Watcher agrees to supervise the children without distraction for a given period of time, and is given a lifeguard whistle or neck wallet that serves as a reminder of their responsibility. When another adult relieves them, the whistle is handed off to them. This ensures there isn’t a lapse in supervision.
Barriers for the pool area are another easy line of defense against drowning. The following are examples of different barriers to ‘protect’ the pool.
- Perimeter Fencing: Every pool within Tucson city limits is required by law to have a five-foot high, permanently fixed fence that completely surrounds the perimeter of the pool.
- Self-Closing/Self Latching Gates: All pool gates need to be self-closing and self-latching. To test a gate, open the gate to body width and release. The gate should swing close and completely latch on its own.
- Check for Gaps or Openings: Make sure the pool fencing does not contain gaps exceeding four inches. Check the entire perimeter of the fence regularly to look for erosion or unusual spacing between the ground and the bottom of the fence.
- Remove Climbable Items: Make sure that items such as patio furniture, trees, walls, landscape boulders, etc. are not within close proximity to the pool fence. These items could assist children in climbing the fence.
- Remove Toys From Pool Area: Remove items that may attract children to the water, make sure that toys, rafts or other attractive items have been put away after use.
Classes are also a good line of defense for drowning prevention.
- Learn CPR: Every parent should learn CPR. It may save their child’s life someday.
- Learn To Swim: Ask the pediatrician when it is appropriate to have children start swimming lessons.
The key to drowning prevention is to remember the basic ‘ABC’ formula:
Active Adult Supervision
Barriers: Multiple layers of barriers isolating the pool and spa from children
Classes: Age appropriate swim lessons and learn CPR
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