Contributed by Dr. J.J. Linder, medical director of Mercy Gilbert Medical Center's emergency room.
Question: My husband and I recently had a baby. We're concerned because we have a pool in the backyard. What can we do to keep our child safe?
Answer: According to the Children's Safety Zone, there were 153 water-related incidents in the Valley last year, which resulted in 49 deaths - 16 of them were children 12 and younger. These are shocking and sad statistics because one drowning is too many.
The No. 1 thing parents can do to protect their child from drowning is to always watch their child around water. This not only includes swimming pools, but also canals, bathtubs, buckets and toilets.
Other water-safety tips:
- Always be within arm's reach of a child younger than 5 who is in or around water.
- Instruct baby-sitters and caregivers about the dangers water may pose, and make sure they are constantly supervising children around water.
- Completely fence the pool and use self-closing and self-latching gates that are out of your children's reach.
- Keep all doors and windows leading to the pool secure.
- Do not consider young children drown-proof because they have had swim lessons.
- Place tables, chairs, toys and storage chests away from the pool fence to prevent children from climbing into the pool area.
- Store toys outside the pool area, avoiding any temptation to enter the pool area for a toy.
- Keep rescue equipment, such as hooks, poles or life preservers, and a phone by the pool.
- Always take your children with you and secure the latch or lock if you leave the pool area - even if you are just leaving for a minute.
- Learn CPR.
Chandler Regional and Mercy Gilbert medical centers are proud to partner with their local fire departments to keep your children safe. To learn more about water safety classes, call the ResourceLink toll free at 877-728-5414 or visit www.thinkmoreER.org.
Reproduced with permission from:
The Arizona Republic
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