As the summer heat approaches, parents take their kids to the pool to beat the heat and cool off a bit. But some distractions, like checking a cell phone or reading a book, could put kids in danger.
Many parents assume if a child is drowning, they will see the child flailing in the water and making loud noise. But drowning can actually be quick and quiet. According to the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission, a child can drown in the time it takes a parent to answer their phone.
Parents at the College Hill pool in Wichita had some different opinions about what is acceptable at the pool, but they said they all had a responsibility.
“Just always maintaining a connection with them,” is what Gary Riley said is important when watching his daughter. “Knowing exactly where they are in your vicinity and line of sight.”
Riley brought both a book and his cell phone to the pool Friday. He said although they can be a distraction, he thinks as long as you know your child and where they are, the items aren’t a distraction.
“If they’re in the deep end, you need to be more focused and in tune that they’re not in any danger,” he said.
But a grandmother told Devon Fasbinder on Friday that she leaves her phone at home when taking her grandchildren to the pool. She said she thinks she should watch the kids at all times and the phone is too distracting.
Riley said because he knows his daughter can swim, he’s comfortable reading or being on his phone while she’s in shallow water as long as he keeps glancing up. He said the danger comes when parents have no idea where their kids are or what they are doing.
Riley recalled, “There was a situation actually on vacation about a month ago where there was a little kid gradually getting deeper and deeper into the water and the parent had no clue what was going on. Someone grabbed the child, otherwise they could have been over their head in water and not know what was going on. It can be pretty serious if you’re not paying attention.”
Several parents at the pool took full responsibility for their kids. Every parent who talked to Eyewitness News said it is their responsibility first to take care of their children and the lifeguards act as a backup.