Tracey Brown is the Injury Preventions Coordinator for Cardon Children's Medical Center.
Question: I bought my child a life vest for the pool. Is it okay to leave her in the water without me as long as she has the life vest?
Answer: A US Coast Guard-approved life vest is a good start to help your child feel comfortable around the pool, or any water really, but should not, under any circumstances, replace adult supervision when it comes to the water.
At Banner Children’s Hospital, we like to say that children are not waterproof. That means, you should never rely on water wings, floaties and other air-filled toys as life saving devices. Constant adult supervision is the best option you have for water safety.
Drowning is the second leading cause of death for Arizona’s children. Most drowning or near drowning incidents could have been prevented with simple changes—including adult supervision for children at all times when they are in or near water.
Other simple tips include:
- Storing empty buckets and other large containers upside down so that water does not collect
- Closing and locking toilet lids
- Surrounding pools and spas with 5-foot high self-latching gates
I also recommend that adults and teenagers who live in houses with pools learn and practice CPR, updating their CPR certification every year.
Keep rescue equipment, such as life preservers or long polls, near the pool and emergency numbers and a telephone nearby.