Experts offer tips on keeping your children safe at the pool

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CHESTERFIELD, Va. (WWBT) — A Virginia family is mourning the loss of their 2-year-old child after she drowned in the family’s pool.

It happened Monday in Chester, but the little girl didn’t pass away until Wednesday after doctors at Chippenham Hospital tried but couldn’t save her life.

It could happen to anyone at any time. Experts say that doesn’t mean avoid the water. It just means know the do's and don’ts before your child steps foot in the water.

"Summer is one of the hottest times of the year and it’s a great time to come to the pool,” Chrissy Fandel, with the YMCA, said.

It’s also a good time to learn or remind yourself of how to keep your children safe.

The heartbroken family of the 2-year-old said they have a fenced-in backyard and a password key lock on the door. Those were precautions they had in place for safety reasons, and they never saw this coming.

Fandel said the first thing to do is make sure your child is wearing a Coast Guard approved life jacket when they go into the water.

“Those inflatable water wings are generally a no-go,” she said. “Giving a child who is a non-swimmer or a weak swimmer a pool noodle or a kickboard and then sending them into a pool is also not the best idea.”

But kids love those things, so why not?

“It’s not designed to roll you onto your back should you become in trouble,” Fandel said. “A Coast Guard approved life jacket, that’s what it’s designed for.”

In fact, water wings generally put children directly into the same position people naturally go into while actively drowning, with arms reaching out to the sides.

Fandel also said they can deflate when your child is in the water.

“If you’re a weak swimmer or a non-swimmer, you should not be swimming in water that’s deep, and deep water is considered chest-up on the individual,” Fandel said. “Just because you have a pool in your backyard that you blow up and you fill with water and it’s a few inches deep, it could be deep water for a young child.”

Also, adult supervision can go a long way.

"Always being within an arm’s reach of your child,” she said.

Fandel also suggests when you’re done at the pool, don’t leave toys behind. If you have an inflatable pool, empty the water. That way, children won’t be tempted to run back to it when an adult isn't around.

Keeping a gate or fence around any home pool is also recommended.