Keeping Kids Safe in the Backyard Pool

By: Karen Todd
By: Karen Todd

A two-year old boy nearly drowned this morning in the backyard pool of his Galena area home.

The child was air-lifted to Washoe Medical Center where he remains Wednesday night.

In light of the near-drowning, we offer some tips on what parents can do to keep their kids safe around water.

As it only takes a few seconds of inattention for a child to slip under the water unnoticed.

According to paramedics, the parents of the two-year-old today were performing CPR when REMSA arrived - and that might have saved this child's life.

But there are precautions parents can take to try to make sure that accidents don't happen.

It seems innocent enough, kids splashing around in the pool.

But, as soon as a parent can turn their head, a child can slip under the water. "Frequently, children drown within feet of their parents and guardians," says REMSA paramedic Eric Guevin.

That's why REMSA suggests all parents and pool owners know CPR.

Guevin says it's also important to put one responsible adult in charge of watching all the kids playing in a pool when there's no lifeguard around.

"When everybody's watching the child - nobody's watching the child," he points out.

According to Guevin, it can take just a few seconds for a child to slip under the water and become unconscious. And - even if your child is a good swimmer - don't take chances.

It's important to always have adult supervision Guevin says.

There are also some legal responsibilities for pool owners as well.

Washoe County, as well as the cities of Sparks and Reno, require a minimum of a five-foot fence surrounding pools.

"If the back of the house is to be used as part of the barrier - any doors - either sliding or regular - have to have electronic alarms on them," says Phillips Chase of Dan Loose Pools & Spas..

The simplist alarms are magnetic contact alarms, many run on a nine-volt battery.

Pool gates are also required to be self-closing, and self-latching.

Pool covers aren't required by law, but some winter covers can actually be walked on. They cost between $1,000 - $2,000.

Other, more permanent covers, such as those which run on tracks and are at least double that cost.

But, when it all comes down to it, the experts agree that parental supervision is priceless.

Another thing that parents should remember, it's not just a pool where kids can get in trouble.

Spas - backyard ponds - and even bathtubs can be dangerous.


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