LAS VEGAS - Temperatures are heating up, and kids will soon head to pools to keep cool. A fun day can turn deadly, however, if parents and kids do not take water safety seriously.
Drowning is one of the leading causes of accidental deaths for children in ClarkCounty.
According to the Southern Nevada Health District, four drownings occurred last year; three of them involved children.
Most drownings happen in family pools, and the majority of the victims are children under five years of age. Lifeguards say it's never too early to teach your kids how to swim.
They say six-month-old babies can learn how to float with their bellies up. Infant drownings are often called “silent deaths”, because babies don't know how to splash. However, a baby can learn how to float and cry for help if he or she accidentally falls into a pool.
Raymond Frasier has been a lifeguard for eight years. He says he has seen babies learn how to float before they can walk.
“One of the things you really see with toddlers and with small children, their head size and their neck strength is not proportionate yet, especially in a water setting when they get face down,” he said. “For them to start and pull their heads straight back is very difficult for them. So, them being able to roll over on their backs is crucially important."
Health officials urge people to remember the ABCD system of drowning prevention. "A" is for adult supervision. Never leave your kids unattended, even if they're experienced swimmers. “B" is for barriers such as a pool fence with a latch that locks the door. "C" is for classes. Many CPR and swimming classes are available throughout the valley. "D" is for drowning prevention devices such as life jackets or alarm bracelets.
Las Vegas Fire and Rescue spokesman Tim Szymanski says it's also important to clear out the pool when people are done swimming.
"Don’t even have toys in or around the pool area. When you're done, take the toys out and lock them away where children cannot get to them, because that’s where a lot of our incidents occur - because children went near the pool or in the pool to get those toys, and they fell in," he said.
Szymanski also urges people to take precautions when hosting pool parties. He recommends designating a responsible adult to watch the pool for children and intoxicated adults.