Pool safety: layers of drowning protection

St. Petersburg, Florida -- Layers of protection against pool drowning should be prudent to every parent.

This time of year parents start calling companies to install pool fences for their home pools, but after last weekend's four drownings or near drownings, local pool safety expert Mark Hollis got almost 40 calls Monday morning, compared to the three or four calls he will get a day.

Hollis told 10 News he was saddened, but excited parents are actively thinking about protecting their children this summer.

"My phone was just flooded with calls, I even had to turn it off for this interview," he said.

Hollis has been installing a child safety pool fences for 10 years.

"It is the number one safest way to protect your children, after supervision and swim lessons," said Hollis. "The fence is up to state code. It has a spring lock mechanism that children cannot figure out how to use, but is easy for a parent to open.

"It's all about layers of protection from inside-out," said mother and certified swim instructor Sandra Testo-Michaud.

Michaud's daughter drowned in her house pool 10 years ago in January. The fence was down for construction and the door alarm was not working properly.

"I took a call, I thought she ran upstairs, so I went looking for her upstairs and then I found her at the bottom of the pool in the deep end."

She will never let that happen again.

"You must give them swim lessons starting as young as possible too -- on top of the door and window alarms. All of my doors and windows with access to the pool have alarms and they are loud, plus the fence is child proof, and then I have a water motion sensor."

SEE ALSO: Teaching infants water safety

The water motion sensors can range from $200 to $800, but you can find the door and window alarms for free at waterprooffl.org or St. Joseph's Children's Hospital at 813-615-0589.

Hollis said Lowe's sells the door and window alarms for $25 each plus a couple dollars for the batteries.

Swim lessons can also be an expense, but Michaud offers them for $5 a class at her home in Trinity. The money goes to her foundation called the Katelyn Foundation.

She also runs a program called, "Water Watcher Program." It is a tag that a person who watches the water wears whenever any child is in the water. When the watcher needs to leave, he hands the official "Water Watcher" tag with an oath written on the back of it to another person who can watch the water.

Mark Hollis' Child Guard Fence can be seen at childguardsafetyfence.com. It costs about $10 a foot. A large pool can cost about $1,000 to wrap around. Each fence is 20 inches from the pool line, giving people areas to move around the deck on the outside of the fence.

CLICK:The Best Pool Alarms and Pool Gates

There are more safety tips at Florida Safe Pools' website below.

Related Stories:

5-year-old drowns in pool

Brooksville child nearly drowns in pool

Two kids die after drowning incident in Lakeland


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