Brookhaven Town officials Tuesday warned residents that even a moment's carelessness around backyard swimming pools can lead to accidental drownings.
With Memorial Day weekend days away, officials said they hoped to avoid fatal pool accidents, which are among the leading causes of death for children 14 and younger, Supervisor Edward P. Romaine said.
Eight people died in apparent drownings last year on Long Island, including a 6-year-old boy in North Lindenhurst and two siblings, 5 and 7, in Central Islip.
Building inspectors will crack down on homes suspected of having pools without permits or violating state law because they don't have required fencing or alarms, Romaine said.
"A pool can be a very dangerous place," Romaine said during a news conference at the town Aquatic Center in Mastic Beach. "It only takes a few moments for a person to drown."
Nationally, more than 200 children younger than 15 drowned in a pool or spa last summer, according to federal statistics cited on the website of the nonprofit Long Island Drowning Prevention Task Force.
Town deputy planning commissioner David Genaway said inspectors may make random checks if they suspect a pool lacks necessary permits. Inspections also may occur when homeowners apply for other building permits, he said.
Genaway said state regulations apply to any pool with a depth of more than 2 feet of water.
Town officials said parents should keep a close eye on their children. "There are too many times when a child runs out and you turn your head and they're into the pool," Councilwoman Valerie Cartright said.