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Keeping kids safe around the pool while they're home

Kids at home can be tempted to swim without supervision.

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Safer at home: that's the mantra we've all been using when it comes to limiting the spread of COVID-19.

But, with many parents trying to work from home and keep an eye on the kids all day, it's easy to get distracted for a few minutes. That's when kids could be in real danger, especially if you have a pool.

This is important because Florida leads the nation in drowning deaths for children under five years old.  And, with kids not leaving home much, they are looking for something to do.

The Suncoast Safe Kids Coalition says parents to think about water safety and have layers of protection if they have a pool at home.  

First, they need a clear view of the pool all day. That could mean setting up your work-at-home office near a window where you can see it. 

"We are looking at the best safety features: to have a five-foot-tall fence that has a self-locking, self-latching gate all around the pool. Also inside the home, we like to recommend putting up door alarms," said Petra Vybiralova, the supervisor for the Safe Kids Coalition at Johns Hopkins All Children's Hospital. 

When you are in the pool with your kids, you should make sure they have some basic survival swimming skills. Teach them to jump in, roll onto their back and float and tread water. Then make sure they can swim to the side of the pool where they can get out. 

Another concern, many people have gone out to buy small plastic pools or larger inflatable ones. These can be particularly dangerous because a child can drown in a small amount of water. 

Petra says you should empty the small plastic pools every time you finish using it. As for the larger ones, get a cover to put on it when you're not using it. 

One more quick tip: when you're not in the pool, clear all the toys out and put them away. A toy floating in the water can be tempting to a young child who wants to play.  

RELATED: Firefighters, lifeguards raise money to give kids free swimming lessons

RELATED: The hidden danger of drowning: It's silent

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