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Inadequate Supervision and Ignoring Pool Safety Can Have Tragic Results

pool safety coversThe competition for a good daycare is a familiar battle for some families. But what you may not know is that, in certain regions, it can be difficult for parents to actually track down which daycares are compliant with the law — and which aren’t.

According to the New York Daily News, New York City day care centers struggle with this issue. Violations — even major ones — often slip through the cracks.

In July of 2014, for example, Edward Harris was a 3-year-old boy staying at Mother Byrd daycare, which a woman named Sherry Byrd owned. Harris wandered off, gained access to a backyard pool, and drowned there. At the time, the Health Department cited numerous — and substantial — failings on the part of the daycare, such as lacking an appropriately secure barrier for the pool, providing insufficient supervision, and having a barrier that wasn’t enough to prevent a child from accessing the pool.

Licensing Often Falls Through Cracks
Although the state took away Mother Byrd’s license, a day care called “Sherry Byrd” — also owned by Sherry Byrd right next door — was allowed to stay open. Any parent researching the daycare Sherry Byrd wouldn’t see any reports or sanctions regarding Edward Harris’s drowning. It is unknown why Sherry Byrd herself has yet to receive a sanction, even though her lack of care resulted in the preventable death of a child.

Also an issue: after a daycare license is revoked, many providers simply change their corporate name and relocate — often to another floor in the same building. While it’s easy for parents to feel like they’ve been kept in the dark in cases like this, there are a few ways you can be proactive about your own daycare situation.

Why Pool Safety Covers Can Offer Peace of Mind
Many daycare centers have pools either on site, or in the nearby neighborhood. If a daycare has ever been documented as having an insufficient staff-to-child ratio, beware: this is typically when children find it easiest to slip away and get outside.

Even in the best of situations, though, it only takes a few seconds and a turned back for an accident to happen. Make sure that there is a barrier in place, such as a pool fence. A four-sided isolation fence — in which the pool area is not connected to the home or building — is 83% less likely to lead to a child’s drowning.

Note the area around the fence. Are there any tables children could climb up on and get over the fence with, for example? There shouldn’t be any easy way to get over the fence. Pool gates themselves should be self-closing and self-latching, and at least four feet in height. The use of swimming pool safety covers can be extremely comforting for worried parents. These covers effectively seal off and cover the water, and are often so strong that they could support the weight of several adults if needed.

There are 10.4 million residential pools across the country. Avoiding them will not be possible, but the least you can do for your child is ensure that they cannot access pools without a supervising adult. Things like pool safety covers and isolation fences will do wonders for keeping kids safe, no matter what.

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