Yuma, Arizona - As we near the end of August, we are reminded that the work of preventing drowning deaths is never ending. Children 4 years old and younger are at greatest risk for drowning. There are a few basic steps to reduce this risk, we call them the ABC and Ds of drowning prevention.

“A” is for Adult supervision. If children are around water, they need constant, responsible, undistracted, adult supervision. Designate a “Water Watcher” whose only responsibility is to watch the children (the more children, like at a pool party) the more watchers needed). If that person has to leave the area, someone else takes over or everyone leaves the pool area with them.

“B” is for Barrier fencing. Every pool should be enclosed by a barrier fence at least 4 feet high. It should have a self-closing, self-latching gate. Pool toys should not be left in the pool, they attract children, and furniture should not be near the exterior fence where it can be used to crawl over.  Pool alarms are also added security (there are even alarms that can be attached to the child!). Look for ways around your barriers like gaps in fencing, deactivated alarms, defective latches, or even a “doggy door”.

“C” is for Classes. Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR), learn how to perform CPR in the event that the unthinkable does happen. In addition, although we cannot “waterproof” our children, teach them to swim First responders often hear “It was only a few seconds” or “I thought someone else was watching”. 

“D” is for Devices. Coast Guard approved Personal Floatation Devices (PFD) designed to keep even the unconscious afloat. Consider other devices too like alarms or other warning devices.

Keeping children healthy and safe are the goals of Fire Departments and other prevention institutions in Arizona. “Drowning Impact Awareness Month” is one way to raise awareness and remind people that there is no substitute for constant, responsible, focused, (even relentless!) adult supervision of children around water. The consequences of failure are just too great…

For more information about fire and injury prevention classes we offer, contact the Yuma Fire Department Public Information Office at 928-373-4855.