Yuma, Arizona - Last week there was a response to a near drowning incident in a bathtub. Children 4 years old and younger are at greatest risk for drowning. There are a few basic steps to reduce this risk, we call the ABCs of Drowning Prevention.

“A” is for Adult supervision. If children are around water (any water, not just a backyard pool), 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. There is NO substitute for constant, responsible, focused, (even relentless!) adult supervision of children around water.

“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!).

“C” is for Classes. 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 (the City of Yuma’s Parks and Recreation program has many great “classes”).

First responders often hear “It was only a few seconds” or “I thought someone else was watching”.  Do all you can do to prevent drowning (www.preventdrownings.org  provides some excellent tips) and have a fun and safe summer. 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.