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Pool safety experts: Most drownings are silent; no screams or splashing

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PHOENIX (KSAZ) - A 3-year-old boy lost his life after drowning in a backyard pool at a pool party in Chandler over the weekend.  Firefighters say no one noticed the toddler was missing until the party started winding down.

Pool safety experts are now urging parents to be extra careful during parties and get-togethers.

Most people think a child will scream out or splash around when they're drowning, but swim experts say that's not what happens.  Most drownings are silent and that's why it's so important to have a designated person watch kids while they're swimming.

"When everybody is watching, nobody is watching," said Bob Hubbard, who has been teaching kids to swim for more than 20 years in the valley.  He says pool parties or get-togethers can be very dangerous for kids if no one is watching.

"One of the big challenges with drownings is that it's silent.  Everybody thinks a drowning victim is going to splash and make all this noise and they're not.  They're going to be fatigued and many times, they're going to be vertical," he said.

Hubbard says it's best to hire a mobile lifeguard for a pool party or "..pick a water watcher and designate them with either a necklace or a little band or something that indicates they're responsible."

He says once a person puts on a water watcher necklace, they typically become very observant.  He recommends water watchers take turns and switch out every 15 minutes so everyone enjoys the party.

"It's very fancy.  All you need is a shoe string and a piece of rope, some spaghetti and draw your water watcher hole and punch a tag in it."

Hubbard also says learning to swim and having a pool fence are very important, but he adds being observant is key.

"My grandson is 5 and he's an awesome swimmer, but he's not an awesome swimmer when another 5-year-old climbs on him in the pool.  He's going to panic and he's going to change what he's doing... the number one thing you can do is to be observant."

Online: www.hubbardswim.com



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