2011 Safety Tip
It’s summer and the living is easy. Relax by the pool, cook out,
hang out at the lake, relaxing on the boat, what could be better? How
about a year without a drowning?
Coalition of Arizona published their 2009 annual report providing statistics
on drowning in the state. In that report they provide the following information:
- “In the
United States, drowning remains the second leading cause of accidental
death among children ages 1 to 14.”
- Fire department
and news clippings “reported 103 serious water-related incidents
in Maricopa County among persons of all ages. This is average for the
number of serious cases since 1990.”
- “Most incidents
took place in pools, either above ground or in ground, 74 (71.8%) of
the 103 events.
- Forty-seven of
the 74 incidents in pools involved children aged 0-4 years.
- For children 0
to 4 the majority of incidents in Maricopa County took place in above
ground pools either at the victim’s home (27); a relative’s
home (8); a neighbor’s home (2); or a friend’s home (3).”
- “In at least
38% of the cases, the children were not wearing swimming attire, indicating
that these incidents did not occur in a swimming situation. Instead
they occurred at a time when the children were not expected to be in
or near the pool.”
The Coalition reviewed
the incident reports and determined a single “attributed cause”
for each pool incident. These causes fell into one of six main causes:
- No barrier to
- Inadequate fence
- Gate or latch
failed or was propped open
- Back safety door
or latch failed
- Supervision issue
- Other or unknown.
What can we do to
continue to improve pool and water safety?
- Never leave a
child alone when in or near a body of water—even if it’s
less than a few inches. This includes bath tubs and buckets of water.
- For pool owners,
make sure your pool has four-sided fencing and a self-closing, self-latching
gate that young children cannot reach. Remember to keep chairs, steps
or other items children can climb on to reach the latch away from the
- Keep the door from
the house to the pool area closed and secured. Consider an alarm for
the door, to indicate the door has been opened.
- Hot tubs should
be covered and locked when not in use.
Weak or No
- Actively supervise
your children around water, and have a phone nearby to call for help
in an emergency.
- When there are
several adults present and children are swimming designate an adult
as the “Water Watcher” to prevent gaps in supervision.
- What is a
- A responsible
adult. You should not depend on older children to watch younger
- They should
not be distracted. That means no phone calls, no text messaging,
no reading books or magazines, no alcohol. The primary focus
should be watching the children.
- A Water
Watcher is not just for the lake or pool. Children can drown
in as little as 1 inch of water, in any body of water. This
includes oceans, lakes, ponds, rivers, puddles, kiddie pools,
public and back yard pools, spas, bathtubs, toilets, buckets
and the list goes on
If there is an emergency, do you know what to do?
- Know CPR
- Drowning victims
who are rescued from the water need CPR immediately—before
the paramedics arrive. It can prevent brain damage and be the difference
between life and death. Contact
your local health department, hospital or visit their Web site to
locate a local American Red Cross Chapter that offers courses year-round.
- Learn how to use
- Keep a phone near
you and use it only to call for help if there is an emergency. These
skills may help you save a child’s life.
- Enroll your child
in swimming lessons.
- If you do not
know how to swim either, enroll in a parent-child learn-to-swim class.
- To find swimming
lessons, contact your local parks and recreation department, an aquatics
center or visit the YMCA Web site to find a YMCA near you.
Life Jacket Use
- Nearly 5,000 boating
accidents occur each year in open waters (lakes, rivers and oceans)
and more than 700 people drown.
- Of those who drown,
nine out of 10 are not wearing a life jacket.
- Alcohol use is
involved in up to one in five reported boating fatalities.
Enjoy the summer and
the opportunities it provides for family and friends to get together.
Be smart, plan ahead and be safe so all your summer memories will be of
fun and relaxing times.
view a printable version of this safety tip, click