With hot summer days officially here, families will be dipping into pools, wading in lake waters and flapping their fins into swimming season to cool down.
But before jumping in, officials from Cal Fire and the Riverside County Fire Department offer advice on how to have fun in the sun while making sure the little ones getting their feet wet, stay safe in water.
Over the last couple months, fire officials have responded to three drowning incidents involving children under the age of 5, according to the Riverside County Fire Department.
Since Jan. 1, 15 children under the age of five either drowned or nearly drowned in Riverside County.
“Drowning is tragic and 100% preventable, “said Riverside County Fire Chief John R. Hawkins in a news release.
“There are many resources available to parents and caretakers about swimming pool safety and other types of water recreation precautions.”
Below are some tips on how to keep the kids and loved ones safe around swimming pools:
- Never leave a child alone in or near the pool, not even for a moment
- When watching children in or near a pool, refrain from phone use and reading
- Don’t let the number of children reach beyond your control! Ensure that there are enough adults to supervise the number of children swimming.
- Make sure that pool rescue equipment is in working order and free from damage (shepherd’s hook and/or life preservers). Make sure that there is a phone nearby in case of and emergency.
- Identify hazards that could lead to drowning such as: pools, spas, water on pool covers, wading pools, bath tubs, buckets of water and outdoor ponds.
- Floating aids, such as “floaties” are NOT a substitute for approved life vests and can give children and parents a false sense of security.
- Remove ALL toys from the pool and pool area after each use to avoid a child’s temptation to reach for them.
- Install a fence at least five feet high around the sides of the pool that separate the house from the play area. Use gates that self-close and self-latch. Ensure that the latch is higher than the child can reach.
- Any door that leads to the pool should be kept locked and equipped with an alarm system that will sound when perimeter doors are opened.
- Floating or infra-red pool alarms with a remote alarm sounding in the home can alert you to a child falling in the water.
- Establish rules covering its use and more importantly, when NOT to be used.
- Consider water survival training for a child when they are capable of crawling or walking into a pool.
- CPR and knowledge of rescue training techniques are the final layer of protection in the event of an accident and should be the standard for anyone watching or supervising children by the pool.
Visit the Riverside County Fire Department website for more safety tips.