Safety urged with kids and pools

Published 6:14 pm Friday, June 13, 2008

Safety is urged by emergency personnel for residents with children and pools as the community remembers the two year-old girl who drowned early this week.

Tuesday a two year-old girl drowned in a residential above-ground pool in Carriere. She was described to have been out of sight only for moments.

Harrison County Coroner, Gary Hargrove reports that his office has had one report so far of a child drowning, said Pearl River County Coroner Derek Turnage. Dr. Paul McGarry, forensic pathologist for the state of Mississippi, toldd Turnage that so far this year there have been four child drownings in the area, two in New Orleans and two in the Mississippi Gulf Coast region.

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The inquisitive nature of children requires parents to keep a constant eye on them, especially if a pool is nearby, Sheriff David Allison said. Children are out of school for summer vacation and parents need to be prepared for any situation.

Homes with above ground pools would be wise to take extra precautions. Parents could simply move the ladder away from the pool but that may not be enough. Turnage said he heard of an incident where after a ladder was moved away from a pool, an 18 month-old child had moved the ladder back to the pool, gained access to the pool and drowned.

“Parents need to secure the ladder and put it out of reach of the children. Taking your eyes off a child for two minutes is too late,” Turnage said.

A child under water can drown in less than two minutes, Turnage said.

“Supervision needs to be constant if there is a pool in the back yard,” Turnage said.

CPR could save a child’s life in emergency situations, such as drownings. There are local people who teach CPR, such as Jan Sweet with the Picayune School District. Sweet was unavailable for comment on the specifics of the classes and when they are offered. Calling 911 will not only get emergency personnel in route, but dispatchers are many times versed in CPR and can instruct callers on CPR basics, Turnage said.

Picayune Fire Marshal Pat Weaver said one of the best things parents can do for children is to teach them how to swim. Fencing off the pool to make it separate from the rest of the yard is a good idea also. Pool alarms provide an extra safety measure. They alert parents when a child has entered a pool without their knowledge. According to a Consumer Product Safety Commission press release, underwater pool alarms are more reliable than above water alarms or wrist band alarms. Further study information and additional pool safety tips are available at