Kiddie pool danger: What you need to know to keep kids safe - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Kiddie pool danger: What you need to know to keep kids safe

(Source: KFVS) (Source: KFVS)
(Source: KFVS) (Source: KFVS)
CAPE GIRARDEAU COUNTY, MO (KFVS) -

When out enjoying some swimming this summer, remember that laughter and fun can quickly turn to death in an instance.

"When we think of pool risks, we think of the big pools, complete with deep ends, diving boards and swim parties," Dr. Nina Shapiro, director of Pediatric Otolaryngology at Mattel Children's Hospital of the University of California, Los Angeles, stated from a study in the journal Pediatrics in a report from CBS.

"But more than 10 percent of pool-related deaths in young children occur in what are best known as 'kiddie pools.' These include inflatables, plastic wading pools and larger above-ground pools," Shapiro also said.

"It's not surprising to me at all," Cape Girardeau Aquatics Coordinator Abby Sturmer said. "Drowning begins when water enters your airway. So you can drown in something like a bathtub or a bucket of water, anything like that."

"I attribute a lot of that to parenting, proper supervision," Jason McKee from Cape Girardeau said. "Obviously accidents can happen in water no matter what depth of water the kids are playing in."

We caught up with Jason McKee from Cape Girardeau who has two children, eight-year-old twins, who were taking swimming lessons at the Central Municipal Pool in Cape Girardeau on Tuesday.

McKee said it's important for his kids to be able to know how to swim to help minimize any chances of any accidents that may occur in the water in the future.

"In the blink of an eye, you hear about kids that fall into pools, accidentally that get shoved in and they don't know how to swim and they drown if there's
somebody that can't attend to them and come to their rescue," McKee said. "It's my goal for my kids to be able to take care of theirselves on their own should an emergency happen."

Shapiro cited in the journal Pediatrics study that concluded portable pools at homes pose a major threat of drowning injury or death to children, especially those younger than five years old.

When your pool is not in use at that time, but still has water in it, there are still some major concerns, especially when your children are outside playing.

"Small children, when they see something that has toys in a 'kiddie pool,' they think that is a great place to play but they don't understand how exactly they can hurt themselves in that process," Sturmer said. "And a lot of parents don't understand that their children can really get hurt if those things are left unattended."

Sturmer also said it's important to make sure you as a parent prepare and know what to do in case an emergency were to arise.

"Be on alert. If you're at a public facility, make sure there is a lifeguard around. If you are able to learn CPR, it's a great skill to have especially with having kids around you," Sturmer said. "If you can't [learn CPR] know if something like this does happen, calling 911 is the best way to save your kid."

Swimming lessons are available at many pools throughout the Heartland, so this is a great way to help your child get the best education and practice in the water.

"It's the repetition coming in and out here and just getting the work in here. And it's so fast you see improvement," McKee said. "It's just getting them in the water and with the right instructions, they can improve so quickly."

"We actually have the swim lessons with parent-child. They can be as young as six months," Sturmer said. "But if they want to be on their own, so if you parents don't want to get in the water, they have to be three years old to start swim lessons here."

Whether the pool is small or large, there are steps adults should take to reduce children's risk of drowning, Shapiro said.

For instance:

  • Constantly supervise children when they're in and around a pool
  • Have a phone by the pool in case of emergency
  • Around large pools, make sure there's a fence that's at least 4 feet high with a latched gate
  • Have life preservers by the pool and learn CPR
  • Drain kiddie pools when they're not in use and remove toys from kiddie pools when children aren't in them

Shapiro said toys can be irresistible to small children, who have no concept of personal risk.

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