One simple thing parents can do at pool parties to help keep kids safe

Posted at 4:46 PM, Jul 04, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-04 17:46:41-04

A drowning incident could occur in seconds and be difficult to spot. It's also the second-leading cause of unintentional-injury deaths for children aged 1 to 14, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"We don't realize how quickly these things can go from just a fun pool party to an incident where somebody needs help," Josh Rowland, aquatics product manager at the American Red Cross, told "Good Morning America."

Water-safety experts say a solution to keeping your child safe this summer is by always having a designated water watcher--somebody who stands next to the pool, free from distractions and is constantly scanning the water for any signs of distress.

An appropriate water watcher, according to Water Safety USA, is at least 16 years of age, but adults are preferred. That person must have the skills, knowledge and ability to save a person in distress, or can immediately alert someone who has those capabilities.

More tips for designating a water watcher:

  • The water watcher should be rotated every 15 minutes, with a new person taking on the job to avoid losing focus
  • Knows CPR or can immediately alert someone nearby with that skill
  • Has a working phone to be able to dial 9-1-1
  • Has a floating and/or reaching object that can be used in a rescue
  • Is alert and not under the influence of drugs or alcohol

If you can’t find your child, the pool should be the first place to look.

Moreover, many backyard drownings occur when children find their way into a yard unsupervised. If you and your child are visiting an unfamiliar home, one of the first things you should ask is: is there a pool nearby? If there is, keep your child extra close.

If you own a pool, it's all about layers of protection.

Pool owner tips to keep your family and guests safe:Install a four-sided fence around the pool itself, not just the yard.

  • Install child alarms on your back doors and windows.
  • Install an alarm in the pool itself that will go off if a child falls in.
  • Remember, these devices should never be used as replacements for supervision.

(Editor's note: This article was originally published on July 3, 2018)