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Information and inspiration for parents and caregivers of babies, toddlers and preschoolers

Keeping young kids safe around pools

Pool safety for young kids

Pool weather and summertime go hand in hand. Especially since pools are everywhere—in your backyard, apartment complexes, neighbors’ homes. As the weather gets warmer, more and more families are using their pools or attending pool parties.

But along with water fun, water safety should also be top of mind, considering the reality of tragic headlines associated with unsupervised young children around water, such the recent case of a 4-year-old Peoria boy who drowned after using chairs to open a pool gate. These incidents are terrifying, and First Things First encourages all adults to play a role in watching young children around water and helping them stay safe this summer.

The Drowning Prevention Coalition of Arizona has three main safety tips for parents and caretakers of kids under 5 around water: block, watch and learn.

Block

  • Make sure your pool and/or spa has an effective barrier, such as a fence to help guard against unauthorized access.
  • Your pool or spa should have a barrier regardless of whether they are covered.
  • Door and windows leading to the pool areas should be locked.
  • Fence gates should have self-closing, self-latching mechanisms.  Latches need to be out of reach of young children.

Watch

  • Never leave your child unattended in or near any water source such as swimming pool, hot tub, spa, bathtub, water-filled bucket, ponds or canals. Not even for a second.
  • Keep toys, tricycles and other children’s play things away from the pool or spa.
  • Don’t consider your children to be “drownproof” because they have taken swimming lessons.
  • Don’t allow barriers, such as fences or walls to give you a false sense of security regarding your child’s safety.  There is no substitute for adult supervision.

Learn

  • Learn how to administer CPR, mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, and other lifesaving techniques.  To administer CPR correctly you must be properly trained.
  • Know how to contact your local emergency medical services. Keep a cellphone handy. Post the emergency number in an easy to see place.
  • Learn to swim and teach age-appropriate children to swim.

Ofelia Gonzalez is a public information officer at First Things First. You can reach her at ogonzalez@firstthingsfirst.org.​

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