NEW YORK (WABC) --Pools are open as summer gets into full swing, which means it's time to review safety measures that could save lives. According to the American Red Cross, 200 kids drown every year in backyard pools.
Sara Gluckman wasted no time protecting her two kids, both under 2, after moving from the city to a home with a background pool.
"A life of a child is everything," she said. "My first priority was getting a fence around the pool. Now that it's up and it's around, I really am OK with everything...God forbid anything ever happened and I wasn't there, I knew they wouldn't be able to walk near the pool or fall in."
She installed a mesh fence by Lifesaver Pool Fence installed for around $2,500.
"What's great about this is it's out of the reach of a child," Lifesaver's Bob Block said. "It's self-closing, self-latching. If an adult is exiting or entering, it's going to self close right behind them."
Block says the safety fence isn't foolproof, but it's one layer of protection. He recommends several other ways to prevent accidents, including outfitting your pool with a safety alarm.
One detects water displacement, sounding an alarm outside and inside the house that someone is in the pool. You can also outfit your child with a water-activated alarm, placed on the wrist or ankle, that activates when wet.
Experts say the best safety measures prevent accidents before they happen, like teaching your child to swim. Marina Mentzel's company urSwim on Long Island teaches 7,500 kids how to swim every year.
"It's crucial to have many layers of safety, because unfortunately, drowning happens very quickly," she said.
Mentzel advises that parents always remove large floats from the pool, which can block sight of a child in trouble. Also, take toys out of the pool that might attract kids into the water. Floaties and backpacks wont prevent drowning, so she also recommends Coast Guard-approved life vests.
"This is something you don't want to rely on," she said. "Your child really needs to learn how to swim, even when using (a vest)."
She advocates swimming basics, beginning with teaching kids to float on their backs and call for help. But the number one way prevent drownings is constant supervision by an adult who can swim, as only vigilance assures a safe and fun summer.
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