AUSTINTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – The tragic drowning of a 3-year-old in Springfield Township over the weekend is evidence of how quickly tragedy can strike when small children are around bodies of water.
On average, 34 children aged 1 to 19 drown each year, according to the Ohio Department of Health. Drowning deaths among Ohio youth increased by 119 percent in the summer months.
While children can drown anywhere, young children (aged 1 to 9) are at a greater risk of drowning in swimming pools.
Bob Ballone, owner of Austintown Pool and Spas, says there are a variety of things that can be added to backyard pools to help prevent children from getting in. A pool alarm is an effective addition and costs about $300.
Ballone said they are compatible for above ground and in-ground pools and alert when the water is disturbed.
“It would have a sensor on it and that sensor is right on the water. If something or someone falls in the water as the water triggers the alarm, a device in your house would trigger and let you know that something fell into the water,” Ballone said.
Ladders with locks and locked fences around the pool are also a standard.
“A fencing device that goes around the whole outside of the pool so that the barrier is higher than four feet, so now you are about six feet high, “ Ballone said.
Safety pool covers are also available. The cover is supported by strong straps that and can hold the weight of several adults.
Even for homes where there are no children, owners should still plan for an unexpected visit from neighbors or animals. Ballone said every pool should have safety features to prevent entrance.
In addition to pool safety additions, the Ohio Department of Health recommends parents and caregivers learn CPR, supervise young children, begin teaching children to swim after age 4, and make life jackets a must.