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Safety in focus as Milwaukee County prepares to open more pools

Posted at 10:18 PM, Jun 09, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-09 23:18:09-04

MILWAUKEE — Most parents will agree that the best way to keep your kids safe at the pool is to never look away.

"Always, always watch her. Don't ever take your eyes off a child in the water, Because things happen very quickly," said mother Brooke Etheridge.

Ehteridge was keeping a close eye on her daughter at Humboldt Park playground. On Saturday, the park's wading pool will open as well as many other Milwaukee County outdoor pools.

But never looking away, especially in 2022, may be easier said than done.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission's (CPSC) latest study shows that pool or spa-related injuries jumped 17 percent last year from 2020. And, according to the commission, drownings remain high.

The CPSC said distracted parents are part of the problem and it's recommending a system.

"We call it a water watcher. Somebody whose job it is to watch the kids and make sure that they're safe. And it can be something that you trade amongst your friends," said Alex Hoen-Saric, chair of the CPSC.

A 15 minute watch, he said, when you're off your phone and you've put down a book and then hand it off to somebody else, said Hoen-Saric.

Swimming lessons are also recommended.

"Her [daugther] first year was completed yesterday. And I feel so much more confident, but I still never take my eyes off of her," said Etheridge.

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