Keep Children Safe in and Around the Pool

The warm weather is finally here, and you know what that means – it’s swimming season! There is nothing more refreshing than cooling off from a steamy hot day in a swimming pool. Swimming is a great recreational sport and can be a lot of fun, but it can be dangerous as well. Every summer there are several reports of children drowning in a swimming pool, therefore it’s important for families who have pools to review safety measures and drowning prevention tips. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, drowning is the fifth leading cause of unintentional injury death in the United States.

Pool Safety Tips

Children should always wear life jackets whenever they are near a swimming pool. It is a good idea to teach your child how to swim at an early age or to enroll them in swimming lessons. Whether at school or camp, make sure they understand to never to go near a swimming pool without an adult who knows how to swim. If a child is missing from inside the house, adults should always check the pool first. Children are curious and creative; they can quickly figure out how to get outside and water can attract their interest.

Educate your children about the dangers of drain entanglement and teach them to never play or swim near drains or suction outlets. Check to make sure your pool’s drains are compliant with the Pool and Spa Safety Act. If your pool does not have drains, be sure to invest in protective measures, such as anti-entrapment drain covers and a safety vacuum release system to automatically release suction and shut down the pump should entrapment occur.

child wearing life vest in pool

It Only Takes a Minute

The Red Cross reports that usually children who drown in a home pool were out of sight for less than 5 minutes. For this reason, it is important to have several layers of protection between children and a swimming pool. Make pool safety a priority by securing the swimming pool with a 4-feet high fence that has a self-latching gate. For extra security, it is also a good idea to install a pool alarm that goes off if anyone enters the pool.

It is imperative to know what drowning actually looks like. It doesn’t look like the movies. In most cases, people who are drowning won’t be able to call out and their body might not flop up and down. From a distance, they might appear to be safely treading water. However, if they are unresponsive to answering questions or their eyes are unfocused, they actually might be drowning. Parents should consider taking a CRP class so that they learn how to recognize and respond to a potential drowning. Local hospitals, fire departments and recreation departments offer CPR training. It is always good to be proactive and prepared in case of an emergency, therefore always keep rescue equipment and a cell phone available to call 911.

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