Last night we attended a graduation party. The hosts have a large pool with various seating areas scattered around their backyard. It was a pretty good crowd and we were there for a few hours. We were having a nice time talking to a couple with three beautiful young daughters, ages 11, 8 and 3. We were standing near a table with chairs around it near the pool and it was getting pretty dark out there. The kids were moving around, eating, talking and playing. Nothing extraordinary. Suddenly, the husband asked the wife "Where's the baby?" referring to the 3 year old. She had stepped around the table where he couldn't see her and we were all talking. The other girls just looked at him. We were so close to the pool.
Do you know what happened next?
No, the baby didn't fall into the pool. Her mom and I were talking, but between the two of us, we had an eye on the toddler. Once the husband knew where the baby was, we went back to our conversations, but I bet there was a third pair of eyes on her after that.
Every year in Arizona multiple children die or are severely disabled in pool accidents. Every year we hear the same thing - watch your kids around water.
It can happen so fast. We could have taken our eyes off that baby for just 30 seconds and that would be plenty of time for her to be in the pool. Little ones don't necessarily hold their breath or make noise when they when they unexpectedly fall into a pool. It can happen at night or in broad daylight. I can't tell you how many times I have seen news stories of children found at the bottom of pools in the middle of the day during a party. There are so many eyes, it just seems counterintuitive that a child would slip under the water and no one would notice. But it does.
If you have a young child and a pool, there must be barriers between them. A locked patio door won't work if the child can go through the doggie door (there have been several drownings in Arizona like that). If your child can reach and operate the latch on the pool gate by standing on a nearby chair, there is no barrier. If your child or your family is at someone else's house, you need to know if there are barriers are between them and the pool. If there are no barriers, you must watch them. EVERY. SINGLE. SECOND. Don't depend on other people at the party, even if there are quite a few. There is no guarantee someone will see your child, and if it is dark or the party is big, it's pretty likely that someone won't see your child fall into the pool.
Accidents can and do happen. I'm certainly not preaching because my kids are teenagers and most of the time I want to push them into the pool. I'm just giving that friendly PSA.
Please, watch your kids around water.