By Courtney Gilstrap LeVinus, Interim President and CEO, Arizona Multihousing AssociatioN
Every spring we start to see more tragic drowning accidents on the news. These incidents are especially heartbreaking because they are preventable. Children and adults can be at risk of drowning; in fact, more adults drown each year than children. The Arizona Multihousing Association and our members are proud to support the Coalition on Drowning Prevention.
Young people love to get out and enjoy the pool when the weather heats up in Arizona and apartment communities that offer pools and spas see a spike in usage as soon as the temperatures rise. It can be tempting to send kids down to the pool to get out of heat and let off some energy, but it’s critical that young people are supervised around water. Even those who can swim should have a buddy or an adult for supervision, depending on their age and swimming ability.
Most communities post pool rules including how old children need to be if they are unsupervised at the pool, however it’s always best to have someone with them who can swim and knows CPR. There are no lifeguards on duty at community pools so it’s up to the resident to watch their own children and guests. Even hot tubs with more shallow water present a drowning threat and need to be monitored as closely as the pool.
Here are a couple of simple tips to prevent an accident around water:
Designate someone to watch children around the pool and in the water. Always keep a cell phone nearby in case of emergencies. However, the designated “water watcher” should not be on their phone or distracted. Drownings can occur in seconds.
Take turns watching the kids around the pool. Everyone should be watching, but there needs to be one designated person who is focused on the water.
Locate the safety equipment at the pool. When you arrive for an afternoon of fun, take a minute to check out where the safety gear is, just in case. In an emergency, you will need to be able to locate and access the lifesaving equipment.
Flotation devices in the pool can be fun, but they are not a substitute for supervision. Be sure to put them away when you are done swimming to keep the deck clear.
Keep pool gates closed and locked. In apartment communities, and in many homes, there are fences around pools to keep kids out and help to prevent drownings. Don’t prop open doors in shared pool areas or leave gates unlocked. Don’t allow your children to climb over the fences or gates.
For those families with young kids, there are numerous affordable and some free resources to teach your kids how to swim and stay safe around water. You can locate these resources through the Red Cross, your city’s parks and recreation, the YMCA and more. Children who can swim still need to be watched around water, but teaching them how to turn over, float and swim to the edge could help to prevent a drowning accident.
About the Arizona Multihousing Association
The Arizona Multihousing Association is the statewide trade association for the apartment industry, representing more than 2,000 members in legislative, legal and regulatory matters. They provide services, products, educational programs and networking opportunities to promote ethical, quality rental housing throughout Arizona.
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