When Water and Kids Become a Recipe for Disaster

Robin Fenchel February 22, 2012

We lived in Tucson, Arizona when our children were infants, and, in the desert climate, we socialized around the pool. To ensure that our kids were pool safe, we enrolled them in a program that would help them survive in the event that they fell or found their way into the pool in an unguarded moment. The swim program taught babies 6 months to 6 years old to save themselves in an accidental water encounter. This was a first-step in trying to avert a tragedy.

In the Friday, May 30th edition of the Orange County Register, Michael Mello, in his article entitled “Take Steps for Safer Swimming,” sums it up in a few words: “Three seconds. One inch of water.” This is the time and the amount of water needed for an infant or toddler to drown. A kiddie pool holding water only an inch deep demonstrates all it takes to drown a small, unattended child.”

Were you aware that drowning is the leading cause of death in children under five? Fire officials urge homeowners to install multiple barriers, as well as other safety measures around pools and spas, such as fences with self-closing and locking gates, and net covers. Other approaches to pool safety include the following: adult supervision, barriers, and classes such as swim lessons and CPR.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission recommends multiple safety measures such as “pool and spa drain covers to help keep children from becoming entrapped and an alarm that will go off after seven seconds if a door to the back yard is opened by a child.”

Even if one doesn’t have children of their own, homeowners need to be mindful that their neighbor’s children can get into their yard, where the pool or spa may not have a cover or a fence.

Photo Courtesy of the Orange County Register On-Line, 05/29/08

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