Another tragic reminder this week of the dangers of children around water. The Kern County coroner confirmed that a one-year-old boy who was found unresponsive in a backyard pool on August 11, died only days later in the hospital. By our count this is the sixth child drowning in Kern County this year alone. Four other children have drowned in pools locally since May. One child drowned in the Kern River in April. Drowning is the leading cause of death for all kids ages one to four. Thursday morning on 17 News at Sunrise Michelle Corson from Kern county Public Health talked about tips many don’t think about when it comes to keeping kids safe around water. “Often kids play in the pool and you don’t remove all the toys and the floaties. That’s attractive to a child. Make sure you are vigilant about keeping all of those things out of the pool.” “How often are we talking to our kids about not going in water if you’re not with an adult? We talk about don’t cross the street unless mommy or daddy are with you, but do we talk about that around the pool? Those conversations need to happen, this needs to be a family effort to stay safe.”

Other tips include:

  1. Have a “water watchers” tag that one adult wears when kids are around water, designating that he or she is watching the children, and then rotate the tag.
  2. Put away your phone, drownings can happen in seconds. But have a phone nearby to call 911.
  3. Consider swim lessons for your children.
  4. Know hands-only CPR.
  5. Never rely on water wings, floaties or noodles to keep kids safe. If a child needs added support, only use Coast Guard approved devices.
  6. If you have a pool, install a fence at least four-feet high around all four sides of the pool. Make sure that the gate is self-closing and self-latching. Latches should be above a child’s reach, and the space between the bottom of the fence and the ground should be less than four-inches.
  7. Parents or guardians should know if the house their child is going to visit has a pool, and what safety measures are in place.
  8. You can also get an in-pool alarm that goes off when something enters the water.
  9. Have dead-bolts and door alarms on doors and windows leading to pools.