Residential Pool Safety Checks Help Families Stay Safe

Bryan Ostrum’s four-year-old daughter is in swim lessons, but he’s not willing to trust that alone will keep her safe in the family’s backyard pool on the far east side.

So the software engineer and his wife, Ana, a nurse, called Safe Kids Tucson, which offers free pool safety checks, thinking a fresh pair of eyes might help them look for ways to better protect Chloe and her two older siblings.

That phone call explains why one recent morning found Yomaira Diaz, the Safe Kids Tucson coordinator, and her Drexel Heights Fire District colleague Tracy Koslowski, pulling out tape measures and running through a checklist.

The safety checks are offered as a way to prevent child drowning.

Turns out that after a 30-minute review, there were a few areas that could use some improvement.

While the exterior fence around the pool was a respectable five feet, the gate needed a tighter spring so it would snap shut more quickly. A mini-fridge was also a smidge too close to the fence, which could allow a child to clamber up on it and over the fence.

And while the plate glass windows allow a clear view of the pool from the house, the pool area could use some more emergency rescue equipment, the two determined.

Finally, the spa drain cover had a crack that needs repair. The powerful suction from a pool or spa drain, combined with a faulty or broken cover , can run the risk of a child’s hair, jewelry or swim suit getting caught and pulling them under water, Koslowski explained.

Diaz cautioned that no matter how good the prevention and rescue equipment is, nothing substitutes for parental supervision while children are in water.

Ostrum said the service was helpful, especially since he was afraid he might be too lax since he grew up around pools. “We’ve been thinking about taking some of these steps, so it was good reinforcement,” he said.

Diaz was heartened by the result. “Sometimes, when you’re in your familiar environment day after day, you might not recognize the areas that could use some improvement. It’s a chance to be conscious of it and hopefully it will provide more information to families so we can help keep everyone safe.”

For more information and to schedule a time for an appointment, call Safe Kids at 324-2783.