Homeowners urged to think about pool safety before summer - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Homeowners urged to think about pool safety before summer

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WATERLOO (KWWL) -

A study from the National Safe Kids Campaign suggests an alarming number of parents don't recognize the risk of drowning among their kids.

Two-thirds of parents surveyed did not know drowning is the second leading cause of accidental death among children. More than half say, they don't worry much about their child drowning. In reality, approximately two children drown every day, and the risk skyrockets during the summer.

Normally this time of year, folks would still be thinking about clearing snow and ice. But in the Cedar Valley, a lot of families are thinking about splashing around in a new pool.

"We've already sold a couple!" said Sheryl Gutknecht, a department manager at Blain's Farm and Fleet. "It's warmed up early this year, compared to past years. So people are out looking at things to get pools ready."

Above-ground pools are growing in popularity -- and dropping in price. But just like an in-ground pool, they pose a very real danger to children.

A simple four-sided fence has been proven to prevent the majority of child drownings. Which is why many cities, like Waterloo, have written a very strict code about pool safety.

"If anything is 24" of depth or greater, then you would need to have it fenced," said Brian Rath, a code enforcement supervisor with the City of Waterloo.

A typical kiddie pool is approximately a foot deep. But go a step up to a 30" inflatable pool, and you are required to install a four foot fence with a latching gate.

It may seem like a bit much, but think about this: The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates about a quarter of all child drowning deaths happen in above-ground or portable pools. Even if you don't have kids of your own, you still have to think about the kids down the street.

"What you're doing is protecting other kids, besides your own kids if they're that young," said Rath.

It's a minor investment - although for a parent, the peace of mind is priceless.

In Waterloo, homeowners will receive a warning notice with ten days to either install a fence or remove the pool. After that, violators face a $200 fine.

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