Mar 272013

PHOENIX — Every year, Valley children will die after drowning in backyard pools or these kids will be left permanently disabled from the lack of oxygen after being underwater for an extended period of time.

Unfortunately, the reality is there are some pool owners who are not responsible.

“I don’t believe people are paying enough attention to protecting their children from pool. They leave toys in the pool, they don’t close their gates or they don’t even have a gate,” said Lisa Sleezer, owner of Maddy’s Pool Supply and Service.

She said over the years, she’s seen these mistakes happen over and over.

“It always makes you feel uncomfortable. A lot of people are open to suggestions, others just don’t want to hear it,” said Sleezer.

Sleezer offers some useful tips for keeping children safe:

Make sure there is a pool barrier or fence: Surround the pool with fencing that is non-climbable. The gate should be self-closing and locked when not in use. No furniture should be near the fence to be used for climbing. No doors or windows should have access to the pool. If you need financial assistance in getting a fence, contact your local fire department or Save R Kids.

Know CPR: Make sure your skills are up to date. Understand the basics of life saving so you can assist in a pool emergency. Keep lifesaving equipment nearby.

Swimming lessons: This does not waterproof a child but will certainly give them a chance should they fall into the pool. Make sure they know how to turn over on their backs, float and yell for help.

Designated water watcher: Designate an adult to watch the water and pool area. Never leave children unattended around water, always have eye-to-eye supervision. Have a phone nearby at all times. If a child is missing, check the pool first.

Make sure compliant drain covers are installed: Entrapment caused by powerful suction from a pool or spa’s drain can trap a child or adult. Do not use a pool or spa if there are flat, broken or missing drain covers.

Related Links:

Pool Safely

Water Smart Babies

Drowning Prevention Coalition of Arizona

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