Camden, N.J.-As we enter the summer months, parents and caregivers must make water-safety a priority as pools reopen and warm-weather water activities begin again.

The Camden County Prosecutor’s Office is asking parents and caregivers to practice increased vigilance while monitoring children who are swimming, as well as when children are not swimming, but are located near pools or other sources of water.  Safety isn’t seasonal and according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), drowning can happen quickly and quietly anywhere there is water, especially to unsupervised children.  Drowning occurs in lakes and oceans, pools, bathtubs, and even buckets of water.  The CDC reports that more children ages 1-4 die as a result of drowning than any other cause of death except birth defects.

Drowning can happen anytime, including when children are not expected to be near water, such as when they gain unsupervised access to pools.  The CDC reports that children ages 1–4 have the highest drowning rates and most drownings for children in this age group occur in home swimming poles.  According to the CDC, barriers such as pool fencing can help prevent young children from gaining access to the pool area without caregivers’ awareness.  CDC data shows that a four-sided isolation fence, which separates the pool area from the house and yard reduces a child’s risk of drowning by 83% compared to three-sided property-line fencing (which encloses the entire yard, but does not separate the pool from the house).

The CDC also advises the public to exercise caution while swimming for individuals with seizure disorders such as epilepsy, who are at a higher risk of fatal and nonfatal drowning than the general population; other medical conditions such as autism and heart conditions are associated with a higher risk of drowning as well.

Here are some WATER SAFETY TIPS from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission:

  • Never leave a child unattended in or near water, and always designate an adult “Water Watcher”.

This person should not be reading, texting, using a smartphone or be otherwise distracted.

In addition to pools and spas, this warning includes bathtubs, buckets, decorative ponds, and fountains.

  • If you own a pool or spa, install layers of barriers to prevent the unsupervised child from accessing the water.

Homes can use door alarms, pool covers, and self-closing, self-latching devices on doors that access the pools and on gates of four-sided fences.

  • Learn how to perform CPR on children and adults.

Many communities offer online CPR training.

  • Learn how to swim and teach your child how to swim.
  • Keep children away from pool drains, pipes and other openings to avoid entrapments.
  • Ensure any pool and spa you use has drain covers that comply with federal safety standards and if you do not know, ask your pool service provider about safer drain covers.