How to keep everyone safe around pools and other bodies of water

Mar 30, 2023, 3:30 PM

(Shuttershock Photo)...

(Shuttershock Photo)

(Shuttershock Photo)

The Drowning Prevention Coalition of Arizona reports that drowning kills approximately 830 children in the United States each year. More than half of these drowning incidents occur in residential pools and spas. An additional 3,600 non-fatal child drowning incidents also send children to the hospital each year.

Drowning prevention is everyone’s responsibility.

Whether you have a pool or are at a location with a pool, or at a lake, there should always be at least one designated person watching the people (children and adults) in the pool or other bodies of water. The Drowning Prevention Coalition (DCPA) offers these tips:

  • Do not allow children to play in or around the pool area.
  • Mount life-saving devices near the pool.
  • Keep tables, chairs, and ladders or anything that can be used to climb on away from pool fences.
  • Check the placement of doggie doors for direct access to the pool area. Keep them in the locked position when little ones are awake.
  • Keep doors and windows locked with a system a child cannot reach.
  • Post your local emergency number on the phone.
  • Do not step inside the house to answer the phone.
    • Install a phone near the pool area and/or keep your cell phone close. Do not use your cell phone or surf the internet when it is your time to watch people in the water.
  • If you find a child in any source of water:
    • Yell for help and pull the child out of the water.
    • Call 9-1-1 or your local emergency number immediately!
    • Begin CPR if you are trained. (If you are not, consider taking a CPR class.)
    • If you are not trained to administer CPR, follow the instructions from the 9-1-1 operator until help arrives.

The ABCs of Pool Safety

Re-learn your ABCs as provided by DCPA.

A– A sober adult must always be with children around water. The adult must watch swimmers with their eyes and not be doing anything else! They shouldn’t be reading, talking on the phone, or doing chores like yard work or washing the car.

B — A barrier is something that keeps you away from danger. A few examples of barriers around water are a fence around a pool with a self-closing self-latching gate, a closed lid on a toilet, or a closed door leading to the bathroom. A pool fence with a broken gate is not a barrier. An open bathroom door is not a barrier because a small child could get into the full bathtub or open toilet.

C — C is for classes! Anyone who does not know how to swim must wear a Coast Guard-approved lifejacket. Floaties are toys and do not count as a life vest. Everyone should take swimming lessons to learn how to swim! Older kids and adults should take CPR classes so they know what to do in an emergency.

The Pool & Hot Tub Alliance Central & Southern Arizona Chapters have donated thousands of dollars to the Valley of the Sun YMCA (Phoenix) and YMCA of Southern Arizona to provide swimming lesson scholarships. If you or members of your household need lessons, find out if you qualify for a scholarship.

Water Safety Risk Factors

According to DCPA, if two or more of these factors exist, you and your family may be at risk for a water-related incident in and around your home.

  • New Parents
  • Caregivers
  • New owners of a pool.
  • New residents in Arizona.
  • A resident of an apartment complex or community where the pool is not securely fenced.
  • Multiple children around the pool.
  • Lack of barriers (fences) or safety precautions around the pool
  • Toys, climbable furniture, ladders, etc. near the fence or pool.
  • Other water hazards around the home without safety features (buckets, bathtubs, toilets, etc.).
  • Underestimate the mobility and ability of a toddler.

The most critical factor in water safety is the breakdown in supervision or a lack of focus when children are present. Assign someone as the designated water-watcher. Use something to remind the designated person that it is their turn, like a plastic bracelet with a whistle.

Pool Safety Checklist Course

DCPA has partnered with the National Injury Prevention Council and Colin’s Hope to offer the Pool & Spa Safety Checklist Program. With this checklist, their goals are to reduce injuries and drownings in backyard pools and spas.

Click here to request a complimentary pool inspection. If you need make significant corrections or need to install safety devices, contact one of our Rosie on the House Certified Partners in the pool category.

Click here for a printable water safety brochure.


Join Rosie on the House every Saturday from 8 a.m.-11 a.m. on KTAR News 92.3 FM. If you’d like to send us questions or comments, email Follow us on Twitter and “Like” us on Facebook. For more do-it-yourself tips, go to An Arizona home building and remodeling industry expert since 1988, Rosie Romero is the host of the syndicated Saturday morning Rosie on the House radio program. Call 888-767-4348 with questions & comments.

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How to keep everyone safe around pools and other bodies of water