DEAR ABBY: My husband and I are the proud parents of a beautiful 16-month-old daughter named Amanda. Now that Amanda is walking, we are faced with a problem. My in-laws, who are great people, have an unfenced swimming pool on their property, and my husband and I feel very uncomfortable having Amanda at their home for that reason. It takes only a few seconds for a small child to escape the watchful eyes of an adult and wander off.
I realize that putting a fence around the pool is expensive, but how can I let my in-laws know how important it is to save the life of a child -- not just any child, but their grandchild whom they adore? -- PLEASE FENCE ME IN
DEAR PLEASE: While a fence would offer a great measure of security, gates have been left open and crawled under -- so don't rely on a fence to keep Amanda safe.
There is no substitute for constant adult supervision. Do not assume that other children -- or even a trusted adult -- will watch your precious child.
Every summer I hear from heartbroken, guilt-ridden pool owners who have had a child drown in their pool. I repeat my plea to all parents to teach their children to swim, to learn all the rules of water safety, and outfit little ones with "life jackets."
And every pool owner should learn cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) -- just in case.