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Water Safety Week: Backyard pool safety from prevention to rescue

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Posted at 6:47 AM, Jun 09, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-01 11:49:26-04

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — FOX 17 Morning News continues its Water Safety Week series with a look at residential pool safety.

“Drowning is the leading cause of accidental death in kids one to four and it’s the second leading cause of accidental death in kids one to four and it’s the second leading cause of accidental death in kids 14 and under,” Bobby Pratt, Director of the Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project said.

“There’s some pretty big reasons why that is.”

Bobby said there are layers of protection pool owners can have at their residential pools before anyone steps foot in the water and prevents accidental drownings.

Before you get in the pool

These include a fence around the pool, a gate that locks, pool alarms, locks on doors coming out of the house, rescue equipment and knowledge of CPR.

“75% of childhood drownings happen between May and August,” Bobby said.

One reason for that high statistic is summer parties when plenty of adults are present, but no one is actually watching the swimmers.

Drowning Statistics

Bobby suggests designating an adult specifically to scan the pool and keep an eye on the kids that are swimming. Furthermore, when the “water watcher” takes a break, that adult should make sure to pass on the duties and designate another adult to take over.

“Drowning victims are not making any progress forward or back, their head is tipped back because they can gain two to three inches of breathing space,” Bobby said.

“They’re pushing down into the water desperately trying to keep their head above the surface of the water.

Signs of Drowning

So what do you do if you notice someone struggling in the water? Bobby says it’s best to try and get the victim without getting in the water if possible.

“A drowning victim is panicked and a panicked victim can grab hold of you and cause trouble,'' Bobby said.

Using tools like a pool skimmer, a pool pole, a flotation device to throw out to a victim can give them something to grab onto, just remember to keep your center of gravity grounded.

Parent tool at the pool

Finally, if a swimmer is face down in the water, unresponsive, the rescuer must get them out of the water as soon as possible.

From there make sure emergency services have been called and check the status of breathing. If the swimmer has a pulse but is not breathing it’s time to give rescue breaths every five seconds. If there is no pulse, then the rescuer will perform 30 compressions and then two breaths until emergency services arrive.