ABCs of pool safety

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By Andrew Michalscheck By Andrew Michalscheck

PHOENIX -- After several drownings and near drownings of young children in the Valley this holiday weekend, the Phoenix Fire Department says it's the perfect time to remind everyone about the ABCs of pool safety.

Assign an adult to supervise children in and around the swimming pool and spa. Experts say this is needed whether there is one parent or guardian present or numerous adults present, such as during a family event or party.  Have the adult supervisor wear an item, like a big hat or a whistle, so everyone knows who's in charge.

"Everybody caters to that designated adult supervisor, " explains Capt. Jorge Enriquez with the Phoenix Fire Department. "No phone calls, you get them something to drink, you feed them. And for however long they're assigned, just keep an eye on the kids, that's just their job."
Have a fence enclosure that isolates your swimming pool and spa from the home, play areas, front and side yards and the neighbor’s yard. Make sure all gates in that fence are self-closing and self-latching. And one barrier isn't enough. Multiple layers of barriers isolating the pool and spa from children should be installed. 

"Kids know how to get into everything," Capt. Enriquez said. "So also keep everything you can out of the pool, keep it as clear as possible, keep it as secure as possible. They're already tempted with the water, so take a little more temptation away."

Other barriers that you may want to consider to help keep your kids safe: approved swimming pool and spa safety covers, approved swimming pool and spa alarm or exit alarms on doors.

Experts recommend parents and caretakers learn how to perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and remember the procedure is different for adults, children and infants. Parents are also advised to enroll kids in swimming lessons.  Floaties or other inflatable flotation devices are not life jackets and should never be substituted for adult supervision.

Remember, it's not just swimming pools that pose a threat. You also need to watch your kids around any type of body of water (lake, pond, canal) or any container that can hold water. 

Drowning is the number one killer of children under the age of five. Sadly, it's 100-percent preventable.