Drowning prevention: There are more options than just a fence

Posted at 5:57 PM, Apr 24, 2017
and last updated 2017-04-25 14:10:52-04
Drowning is the leading cause of death for preschoolers in the state according to the Arizona Department of Health Services.  A sad statistic, but drowning is a tragedy that is preventable.  That's a tough pill to swallow. Since the beginning of the year, ABC15 has reported on four child drowning deaths in Maricopa County.  Their ages range from two years old to four years old.
That's four too many.
We researched several preventative measures.  Besides a fence, what else can be done?  It turns out, a lot and the more layers, the better.
A fence isn't the only possible physical barrier between your child and the pool.  Katchakid pool nets have been around for 40 years.  The fabric is stretched over the pool and anchored to fasteners.  The Katchakid website likens it to a tennis racket covering your pool.  The net is custom-cut so it fits the shape of your pool. 


If you are concerned your child is too young to take traditional swim lessons, Jamie Cartledge, owner of Aqua-Tots in Peoria, said you'll be surprised at just how quickly a child can learn.  Plus, an accredited swim school will teach more than just strokes.
"Part of the teaching is just the safety aspects of the water.  Never get into the pool without an adult, rolling over on your back to get your breath, or how to get out of a pool," Cartledge said.  "You can imagine for a one-year-old, when there's a ledge, it's hard to get out of the pool.  But there are different techniques they can use to get out."  Aqua-Tots will accept students as young as 4 months old.
Pool alarms are placed in the water and detect motion.  So if something falls in, it will sound.  We found one model for less than $25 on Amazon.  
Gate alarms can also be purchased for around $25.  They detect a gate or door opening then activates an alarm.  This one uses a magnetic break triggering mechanism and won't shut off until it is disarmed with a three-digit passcode.  It would also double as a layer of home security. 
Google ISR self-rescue and you'll see videos of babies as young as six months keeping their heads above the water.  Infant survival classes are one-on-one with a baby and an instructor.  
What your child will learn depends on his or her age and developmental readiness, but in all cases, at minimum, your child will learn to roll onto his or her back to float, rest, and breathe, and to maintain this position until help arrives.
The CDC also offers these tips to prevent drowning deaths.