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Here's how to safely host and attend a pool party this summer

Posted at 5:45 AM, Jun 17, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-17 07:31:25-04

NORTH PALM BEACH, Fla. — It can happen to anyone.

Country singer Granger Smith and Olympic skier Bode Miller both lost their children to drowning tragedies.

In Florida, families are around pools all the time, and summer brings even more parties.

MORE: Ask The Pediatrician: Swim and water safety for children

April Rutkowski, a mother of four, said two years ago, she had a very close call with her then 3-year-old girl, who was wearing floaties and slipped out of them.

"I looked up from nursing after just a few seconds and I counted heads 1-2, 1-2 and I was missing a third," said Rutkowski. "She just slipped under the water without anyone hearing or seeing anything."

The little girl is OK with no lasting health effects, but for mom it's a different story.

"I cannot relax at a pool party, because I know the danger of how quickly it happens and how silently it happens," said Rutkowski. "I think people assume there are so many adults here, someone will be watching. Never assume that."

So, what are the do's and don'ts of pool parties?

Keri Morrison, the founder of the Live Like Jake Foundation, aims to prevent children from drowning after losing her son to drowning. She set up a pool party to show WPTV how to keep children safe.

  • Never leave toys floating in the pool since they attract toddlers to the edge
  • Pool floats can hide children
  • Most importantly, keep your eyes on your children at all times

"You might be scanning the top, but are you scanning the bottom?" asked Morrison.

Make sure to designate a water watcher or hire a lifeguard, but don't assume that person is a babysitter.

"If you are having a get together at your home, it's your responsibility to make sure your guests and their children are safe," she said.

Also, continuously count your kids or be in the water with them. Always be nearby.

"I was and still am a helicopter parent, and I still lost Jake," said Morrison.

It's hard to hear, but important message this summer.

Some other tips include making sure your child is learning how to swim and install proper pool fences and barriers.

Click here to learn more about the Live Like Jake Foundation.