Yuma, Arizona – One response last week was for a 3 year old who drowned in a backyard pool. Children, 4 years of age and younger, represent the largest number of drowning victims and it is a reminder for anyone responsible for children to never leave them unsupervised around water. With temperatures beginning to approach or pass 100 degrees, people are starting to look to water recreation for relief. Arizona is consistently one of the states with the highest numbers of drowning cases.
You might expect that of California or Florida with many miles of beaches, but this just shows that it doesn’t take an ocean, it could just takes a few inches of water. Infants can drown in as little as one inch of water, and it can happen in “just a few seconds.” Every year Arizona loses more than a classroom full of children to drowning. There are a few basic steps to reduce the risk of adding to these figures, we call it the ABCs of drowning prevention.
“A” is for Adult supervision. If children are around water, they need constant, responsible, undistracted, adult supervision. Designate a “Water Watcher” whose only responsibility is to watch the children. If that person has to leave the area, someone else takes over or everyone leaves the pool area with them.
“B” is for Barrier fencing. Every pool should be enclosed by a barrier fence at least 4 feet high. It should have a self closing, self latching gate. Pool toys should not be left in the pool, they attract children, and furniture should not be near the exterior fence where it can be used to crawl over. Pool alarms are also added security.
“C” is for Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR), learn how to perform CPR in the event that the unthinkable does happen. In addition, although we cannot “waterproof” our children, teach them to swim (the City of Yuma’s Parks and Recreation program has many great classes). First responders often hear “It was only a few seconds” or “I thought someone else was watching”. Do all you can do to prevent drowning (www.preventdrownings.org provides some excellent tips) and have a fun and safe summer.
For more information, or to set up a class, call Mike Erfert at 928-373-4850.