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Tips to Keep Your Children
Safe Around Water


2 seconds is too long

This summer marks the 22nd year of Fulton Homes' water safety campaign, "2 Seconds Is Too Long." The goal of the initiative is to raise awareness about water safety and to provide tips to the community about keeping children safe around water.

Unfortunately, Arizona ranks as one of the highest states in the country when it comes to drownings each summer. According to a recent report, in 2021 Arizona reported at least 16 fatal child pool drownings, which is an increase of 100 percent from the 2020 season, when eight deaths were documented. In fact, drowning is the number one cause of death for children under the age of four.

Even one child losing a life is one too many, especially since these tragedies can be prevented by taking the proper precautions. One simple way to eliminate drownings during parties and family gatherings is to assign an adult to watch over the pool for 20-30 minutes at a time. Dozens of 9-1-1 calls are made every year during fun family events because there are so many people present that parents let their guards down believing that someone else will keep an eye on the children playing in the pool. Unfortunately, oftentimes that is not the case. Assigning a competent adult to oversee the kids for a certain time period is one of the best ways to ensure that children are always supervised in and around water. When working as the designated pool supervisor, the adult should be one-hundred percent focused on the kids in the pool, and not reading, using a smart phone, drinking alcohol or otherwise distracted.

Another precaution for families with children is to have a secure fence installed around the pool area. The fence should be at least 4-feet high and have no large gaps under it or between slats that are more than four inches wide. Additionally, it should have a self-closing and self-latching gate, at least 54 inches from the ground, that opens away from the pool. Chairs, step stools, and large toys should be kept away from the fence to avoid curious children from climbing up and over the fence and then falling into the pool. To add an extra layer of protection, doors to the backyard should have an extra lock as high as possible to prevent little ones from roaming outside unattended. As an added plus, many alarm systems provide an option for an alert anytime a door is opened. This can be a customized to a beeping sound or even a voice that alerts members of the household specifically that a back door is open. There are even sensors that can be added to a pool that sound an alarm when triggered. With today's technology, the options for adding safety measures to your pool are endless.

Finally, water safety experts, including first responders, advise that all children and their parents take swim lessons, as an additional layer of water safety protection. Recent studies indicate that water survival skills training and swim lessons can help reduce the drowning risk for all children, including those 1 to 4 years of age by up to 88 percent. Local pools, YMCAs and many other facilities around Arizona offer swimming lessons year-round. Likewise, older siblings and adults should also consider taking CPR lessons and learn safe rescue techniques as a precaution. These classes are available in nearly all cities around the Valley throughout the year. Children who are given CPR immediately after being discovered are more likely to survive the incident without brain damage than those who wait for first responders to arrive on scene. If you find yourself alone with a child who has drowned, perform CPR for at least 2 minutes before attempting to call 9-1-1. The current CPR guideline for drowning victims is 30 chest compressions followed by two rescue breaths. Of course, if multiple people are around, have someone call 9-1-1 immediately while beginning CPR.

The key to a safe, memorable summer is preparation and vigilance. So, enjoy family gatherings, pool parties and barbeques with little ones, but always keep your eye on them and ensure that the proper steps have been taken to keep everyone safe all summer long. Remember, even two seconds is too long when it comes to the welfare of children around water.



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