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Dipping into Swim Safety: May 18, 2013

With three kids ages nine to three, Kristen Keffer’s head is on a swivel.

Keeping track of them on dry land is challenge enough- when they’re in the water, it’s a full-time job.

“We do try to make sure we have the swim vests on and be close and make sure that they are always in arms reach of side of the pool or with an adult in the ocean,” says Kristen Keffer.

In the state of Florida, drowning is the number one killer of children under five. As the weather warms up, the action heats up. Michele King is director of child advocacy at Golisano Children’s Hospital.

“We actually cover two areas that are really important.  One is when the family is gathered and everybody is in the pool or around the water, that they designate a water watcher,” says King.

A water watcher is the official eye- tuning out all distractions and focusing on the kids. Everyone should know who is on duty.  They may want to make themselves standout by wearing special t-shirt, tag or hat. 

It’s one thing to be vigilant when everyone is in or around the pool. But a number of drownings happen when no one is around. A child slips away without notice- that’s why layers of protection are so important.

“We recommend that you have alarms and locks on the doors that lead to the pool, that lead to the water.  We recommend that you have a four-sided fence around the pool with a self-latching, self-closing, gate,” says King.

Straightforward suggestions that could be lifesavers. Giving parents a jump on safety, as kids dive into swim season.

“They love it, they love the water. So it is a big concern,” says Keffer.