Pool Safety: Don't Become a Statistic

June 10, 2004 -- Posted at 2:50 p.m. CDT

JONESBORO -- Summer is here and the pools are full of kids and adults looking to cool off. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, drowning is the second leading cause of death in children in the United States. So, how can you keep your little ones safe this summer?

Although the number of drowning deaths in children has declined, it still remains as the leading killer for kids ages 1 to 14, and with summer here, pools in Region 8 are gearing up for the swimming season.

"Even though they may not be your children, everyone kind of keeps an eye out for everybody, and makes sure that everybody is being safe and being taken care of. We've never had any problems out here," said Michelle Hatfield.
Hatfield has managed the Stadium Apartments for the last three years and says staying safe starts with a fence.
"We do have the fence that surrounds the pool and the gates that are self closing, so if someone does push the lever to go out, it will close back on it's own. that way it will keep little kids from being able to get in there," said Hatfield.
Although pools less than five feet deep don't have to have a lifeguard to be on duty, the management at Stadium Apartments does require an adult to supervise minors.
"We do have pool rules that each resident is supposed to come in and sign before they utilize the pool," said Hatfield, "If the kids are 14 they are not allowed to be down here with out adult supervision"
The lifeguards at the Jonesboro Country Club have to stay in top form.
Peter Askea is the pool manager and a lifeguard at the Jonesboro Country Club. He says lifeguards are constantly training.
"Every three years you have to get re certified in lifeguard training. And every year you have to get re-certified in CPR. As far as in service training, we try once or twice a week We get together and go through our emergency action plan and go through back boarding and going through saves and make sure everyone can do it," said Askea.
And don't let it fool you, it's not as easy as it looks...

"The sitting up part is the easy part. It's the getting ready and the cleaning up and training that's the hard stuff," said Askea, "You need to be sure that your always watching the pool."

And it never hurts to have another set of eyes. According to the CDC, in 2001, males accounted for 78% of drowning in the United States.