Failing To Protect The Children

Public water safety campaigns still not enough

By Katherine Koenig – Despite major communitywide efforts and media campaigns over the past decade, drowning prevention efforts in the Valley haven’t significantly lowered the numbers of drownings and near drownings each year. Careless supervision coupled with a lack of any pool barrier or faulty pool barriers top the list. Doggie doors, buckets and bathtubs are other potential hazards. Most people think it will never happen to them. As a veteran Phoenix firefighter once said, “You have to be humble and say, ‘Yes, it can happen to me.’”

May is National Water Safety month and for Arizonans, it shouldn’t be taken lightly. Don’t think you’ll hear a child who’s in trouble in the water – a child drowning is a silent death, with no splashing to alert anyone. Phoenix Fire officials report that people who receive CPR up to four minutes after an incident have a 45 percent survival rate – those who don’t get help until four to eight minutes have only a 10 percent rate of survival. So although you may think you’ve heard or read it all before, revisit a few of the basics regarding pool safety below, and then pass the word on.

• Post CPR instructions and learn the procedures. Then update those skills regularly

• Keep rescue equipment poolside. Don’t wait for the paramedics to arrive, losing valuable life-saving seconds.

• Install a poolside phone with emergency numbers programmed into speed-dial.

• Always brief caregivers/babysitters on water safety, emphasizing the need for constant supervision.

• If a child is missing, always look in the pool or spa first.

For information on pool barriers and other safe pool ideas, see story on page 39. |CST

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