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Gilbert Fire: How to keep kids safe around water

Post Date:08/19/2014 1:26 PM

Perry PoolEvery year, too many children's lives are cut short due to only a few minutes, which change the lives not only of the kids but of their families.

Only a few minutes take away the opportunity for these children to grow up, explore the world and enjoy life.

It takes only a few minutes for a child to drown or suffer an oxygen-deficient brain injury.

The Drowning Prevention Coalition of Arizona says it best: "Accidents happen, but supervision breeds awareness, barriers temper risk and education facilitates prevention." Every year, all year long, we try to get the message out to watch your kids around water.

Nothing will ever replace adult supervision. Having a water watcher who is not distracted by a cellphone, who is watching the water at all times, is the only guarantee you will have to prevent these tragedies.

There is a common theme that I have seen over my years: drownings and near-drownings at parties and family gatherings. It is easy to get distracted at family gatherings and easy to think that someone else is watching the kids. That is why a dedicated water watcher is needed.

An effective pool barrier is a fence of adequate height with a working, self-closing and self-latching gate.

Keep the area around the fence clear so a child cannot push a chair or table against the fence and climb over.

CPR classes for adults and swimming classes for kids are musts.

Remember, the personality traits we love about our kids — their intelligence and curiosity — are the same traits that will draw them toward the pool.

Visit the Drowning Prevention Coalition of Arizona's website at www.preventdrownings.org and watch the videos.

If every family with a pool or a small child watches the video of the Andrew Hill story, I promise it will make an impact on your life and your thoughts about water safety.

This article was a special feature in the Arizona Republic from Mike Connor, deputy chief of the Gilbert Fire & Rescue Department. For more tips, follow Gilbert Fire and Rescue on Twitter and Facebook.

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