Water safety begins, ends with supervision, Dayton Children’s supervisor says

Water dangers exist year-round, but safety begins and ends with supervision, an injury prevention outreach supervisor at Dayton Children’s Hospital said.

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The Memorial Day weekend and summerlike weather are reminders that it’s the season to pay particular attention on water safety. Already, Dayton Children’s reports that so far this year, there have been 12 pool related injuries and one confirmed child drowning.

“From backyard pool, community pool, lifeguarded pool, beach lake, river, whatever type of water you might be around, always having eyes on your kiddos when they’re in that water,” Abby Pettiford, the hospital’s injury prevention outreach supervisor, told News Center 7′s Nick Foley.

Water safety for a lot of communities centers on public pools. The operators of National Trail Parks and Splash Zone Water Park in Springfield say that for the first time in years, they are entering the season fully staffed with lifeguards.

In Dayton, the search for two head lifeguards and other staffing continues so the city recreation department can open all three of the city’s locations instead of only two.

Whether a pool has a full complement of lifeguards or not, they can only do so much.

“They’re not babysitting,” Pettiford said. “They are scanning the pool for incidents, injuries and anything that might be going on, but they cannot watch every kid. So you do need to watch your kid at lifeguard at schools at beaches as well.”

Other suggestions for safe operations at pools or on the water include:

* Having children wear bright swimsuits so they can be seen under water

* Using only U.S. Coast Guard-approved flotation devices.

* Adding a four-sided fence around a pool, which can cut a child’s risk of drowning more than 80 percent, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports.

Drowning is a leading danger for children, the CDC reports. News Center 7 looked into the risk in Ohio.

* From 2015 to 2020, 126 children drowned in Ohio, according to the state health department.

* Most of those incidents occurred at private pools or hot tubs.

* 86 percent of drownings were preventable, according to the state.

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