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Memphis News & Weather | Memphis, TN | WATN - localmemphis.com

As backyard pool sales spike, drowning concerns grow

While the summer sun can bring a lot of fun, pool safety is top of mind this year. Every year there are reports of children drowning, even when surrounded by adults.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Backyard pool sales spiked during the pandemic and now that has experts concerned about kids' safety this summer. 

Drowning is one of the leading causes of unintentional injury and death for young kids.

While the summer sun can bring a lot of fun, pool safety is top of mind this year. It's especially important this summer as more families have backyard pools.

Drowning can happen in an instant, even with parents' best intentions. That's why Hope Mullins with Arkansas Children's Injury Prevention Center said all eyes and ears need to be on kids in the pool at all times.

"Every child is at risk, but the risks do change with age," she said. "For our children ages one to four, drowning is the leading cause of death for those kids."

Mullins said that every year there are reports of children drowning, even when surrounded by adults. She said parents must designate someone to be focused on the kids.

"The adults are present, but they are reading, texting, drinking, and hanging out with friends," she said. "If we designate someone to be the watcher of what's going on in the water, then they have an eye on what's happening with our kids and can prevent drowning."

While it may take extra work, emptying the pools is also a major safety tool.

"If families have brought in wading pools for children or tank style pools, we need to make sure that those pools are empty when not in use," she said. "I know it sounds inconvenient, but that is one of the biggest safety things families can do is remove access to those pools when they're not being supervised by a parent."

While some people might have the notion that it's only pools that are four feet and above that are dangerous, there have been incidents of drowning in very
low water levels.

"Young children can drown in just a couple of inches of water," said Mullins.

Another important step is to recognize what drowning really looks like. It isn't like what the movies depict.

"A lot of us have this perception that drowning is what we see in the movies with flailing arms and screaming for help, but that is not what drowning looks like," she said. "Drowning is silent because when someone is drowning, all of their concentration is trying to breathe and they don't have time to spring, and it actually looks like somebody is trying to climb a ladder in the water or pushing down."

Mullins also recommends teaching kids to ask before going to the pool and to have security measures around the pool that prevent children from entering without supervision.

For more tips on pool safety, click here.