There’s nothing more refreshing than a quick dip in a cool pool when it’s sweltering outside, but a day in the water can quickly turn tragic if a child is left unsupervised. In fact, drowning is the second leading cause of injury-related death in childre
Female Speaker: Ireland Sohrt enjoys a swim in the family pool as much as the next girl. Her mother Natasha wants to make sure Ireland has fun in the water safely throughout her childhood. That's why the pool is surrounded by a fence. Natasha made sure it came with the house. Natasha Sohrt: Most people move into the house with really good intentions of doing something ASAP, and before you know it, you have slacked off for a few months and and the security becomes Nil and void and I wouldn't have taken that chance whether my child was able to walk or crawl or anything. Female speaker: Even with the fence, Natasha never lets the four-year-old out of her sight. Natasha Sohrt: Nevertheless you get out to the pool area and then you recognize, oh gosh! I've forgotten this and I've forgotten that, and that, now I will have to leave and go get that. Of course, that will just never happen. If I don't have it when I enter the pool area, then I just don't have it. Dr. Phyllis Agran: You can't have any lapse in supervision when a body of water is available to the child. The child doesn't understand the risks and is curious and can easily fall into a body of water and in seconds that child can be in trouble. Female speaker: Dr. Phyllis Agran is the Sohrt family pediatrician, the primary care giver for Ireland and her year-old sister Gretchen. When Dr. Agran learns the Sohrts have a pool, she checks Natasha's sense of water safety starting with the fence. Dr. Phyllis Agran: Does it have a self-latching gate so that it will close automatically. Natasha Sohrt: Yeah, two gates. They are on either sides, and they both self-latch. Dr. Phyllis Agran: Oh terrific! Female speaker: When it comes to choosing a pool fence, Dr. Agran recommends one that is at least four feet high, has a self latching, self closing gate, has gaps, no water than four inches, is not easily climbable and has four sides which completely surround the pool. Dr. Phyllis Agran: The house cannot be one part of the fence, because a child could easily open the door and access the pool. Female Speaker: Okay, so your pool is protected, but what if your child visits a friend or neighbor with a pool? Dr. Phyllis Agran: You need to go to your neighbors and check out their pool and make sure that their pool has the isolation fencing and make sure that the same precautions that you would take in your own home that we have gone over are in the neighbor's pool. Female Speaker: And when considering water safety, don't neglect other possible hazards around the house. Any body of water no matter how small poses a potential danger for small children. A child who doesn't know better can fall head first into a toilet or a bath tub, a fish pond, even a cleaning bucket. It doesn't take much. In fact, a child like Gretchen can drown in as little as one inch of water. Dr. Phyllis Agran: So it's really advisable, with a young child, to keep the bathroom door locked and have a lock high and out of reach of the child. Female Speaker: Outside the home, water, water everywhere, and lots of reasons for parents to be careful. Whether it's the pond at the local park or the ocean, safety means never letting a child out of your sight, and the American Academy of Pediatrics goes one step more. Dr. Phyllis Agran: In fact, we recommend touch supervision which means you should be able to touch that child at all times. Female Speaker: What about swimming lessons? Do they add an extra measure of safety? Dr. Phyllis Agran: We are concerned that parents may gain a false sense of security if the child has taken lessons and anyone hints this is a survival skill for an infant or a toddler. Female Speaker: Bottom-line, nothing replaces parental supervision and no parent should assume their child knows better. Natasha Sohrt: It's a very hard thing for children to understand, because it just looks so inviting. It's glistening, it's fun. They remember the fun that they have in the pool. So they don't think about whether the parent should be there or not. Female Speaker: Whether it's the beach, pool or a pond, one thing is for sure taking every safety precaution when it comes to the family outing not only ensures peace of mind but also allows you to concentrate on the more important things like having fun.