DENVER — As the temperatures heat up, Coloradans are flocking to local pools, lakes and streams to cool off. Lifeguards are on duty at Denver city pools, but even so, experts say they can be dangerous. Experts say, don’t rely on busy lifeguards to watch an entire pool of people. But there are things you can do to keep your family safe.
Denver’s La Alma pool is packed on this scorching day. Krystal Prieto sits near the water with her 5-month-old son PJ, tight in her arms.
Krystal says, “This is my first child so it`s like, this is a whole new world, like safety and everything.” But even this new mom knows the basics:
“Don`t leave him unattended, that`s for sure.”
Getting your questions answered, we came to Patricia Billinger with the American Red Cross. She tells us the cardinal rule for poolside parents.
Patricia Billinger says, “The absolute most important thing is to just pay attention and be close by. Practice arm’s reach supervision. That means, literally, your children are within arm’s reach so that if something happens you can pull them right up.”
Pool time for parents, Billinger says, isn’t time to catch up on gossip or summer reading. Your eyes should be on your kids — not reading, not looking at your phone. It’s being there and being present with your child, which is a great thing to do in the summer is just spend some time playing with your kids in the pool.
While water wings like these are always popular, the Red Cross says, they`re actually more dangerous than wearing nothing at all. Your kids, even when they`re supervised should always be wearing a coast guard approved life jacket.
Patricia Billinger says, “Arm floaties and floatable toys are actually dangerous because they provide a false sense of security and they might go into a deeper area of water than they would have without it.”
And while little PJ isn’t even big enough to walk on solid ground, Krystal says, she’s already planning ahead to make sure he’ll be safe in the water. Krystal tells us, “he`s getting ready to go to swimming lessons so he can learn the safety and all that.”