Drowning is one of the leading causes of death for children under the age of 4 in Arizona. Non-fatal water incidents (near drownings) are also very tragic and can cause permanent brain damage. Drowning and non-fatal water incidents can be prevented. Anyone involved with young children needs to be aware of how to prevent this tragedy.
Never leave your child unattended in or near a lake, swimming pool, hot tub, spa, bathtub, toilet or bucket of water, not even for a second. Make sure you keep toys, tricycles, and other play items away from the pool or spa. Don't allow barriers, such as fences or walls, give you a false sense of security regarding your child's safety. There is no substitute for adult supervision.
Make sure your pool or spa has an effective barrier, such as a fence, wall or locked gate that helps to guard against unauthorized access. Gates should have self-closing, self-latching mechanisms. Latches need to be out of reach of young children. Your pool or spa should have a barrier regardless of whether they are covered. Remember to always drain standing water off the cover of your pool or spa.
Children must also be supervised while bathing. Leaving a child in charge of a younger sibling is not acceptable. Many tragedies occur when the child is left alone in the tub for just a few seconds while the telephone is being answered or while the parent or adult caretaker is getting a towel.
It is very important to remember to immediately empty the bathtub once the bath is finished. Children have also been known to drown in toilet bowls. A young toddler is inquisitive by nature and is drawn to any body of water, including the toilet bowl. With a toddler's head and body weight distribution, a child that reaches into the toilet and falls in head first may not have the strength to lift themselves out and escape.
As pool season arrives, won’t you take the time to learn CPR and other lifesaving techniques? Contact Drexel Heights Fire District to find out when the next available CPR class is in your community. Post your local emergency number on your phones and consider installing a phone near the pool area. The number to call for emergency help in the Drexel Heights Fire District area is 911. And remember: Adult supervision is the best approach in the prevention of drowning!
Now you've learned your ABC's of water safety. “A” is for Adult supervision, “B” is for Barriers and “C” is for Classes (swim lessons for kids and CPR training for child care providers). Kids can learn the ABC's of water safety too. Take the time to explain water safety behaviors with your children today.
The Drexel Heights Fire District Board meets on the third Friday of each month at 9:00 a.m., in the training classroom next to Station # 1, located at 5030 S. Camino Verde. The public is encouraged to attend. All meetings are handicap accessible and with 10 days written notice, arrangements can be made for the hearing impaired.
Tracy Koslowski is the Drexel Heights Fire District Public Education/Information Manager.