Summer is the time of year when the family plays together and one of the favorite summer pastimes is swimming! Swimming is great exercise and a fun way to cool off. Unfortunately, with the fun comes risk, especially where young children are concerned. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, an estimated 350 children under the age of 5 drown in swimming pools each year, many in their own backyard. The Commission estimates that another 2,600 children, also under the age of 5 are treated in emergency rooms each year following drowning accidents. Nationally, drowning is a leading cause of death in children under five.
When it comes to pool safety, it is very important for parents and guardians to know the risks and be prepared. It is also important to know where your child is at all times and insure precautions are in place for when they are in or out of the pool. The key to preventing drowning is to put multiple layers of protection in place. This includes pool alarms, placing barriers around your pool to prevent access, close supervision and being prepared in case of an emergency.
Here are some important tips from the Consumer Product Safety Commissions to prevent drowning.
1. Fences and walls should be at least 4 feet high and installed completely around the pool. Fence gates should be self-closing and self-latching. The latch should be out of a small child's reach.
2. If your house forms one side of the barrier to the pool, then doors leading from the house to the pool should be protected with alarms that produce a sound when a door is unexpectedly opened.
3. A power safety cover -- a motor-powered barrier that can be placed over the water area -- can be used when the pool is not in use.
4. Keep rescue equipment by the pool and be sure a portable phone is poolside with emergency numbers posted. Knowing cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) can be a lifesaver.
5. For above-ground pools, steps and ladders to the pool should be secured and locked or removed when the pool is not in use.
6. If a child is missing, always look in the pool first. Seconds count in preventing death or disability.
7. Pool alarms can be used as an added precaution. Underwater pool alarms generally perform better and can be used in conjunction with pool covers. Consumers are advised to use remote alarm receivers so the alarm can be heard inside the house or in other places away from the pool area.
There are also other precautions that should be taken whenever your child will be in the pool.
1. Be alert. Always know where the children are in the pool.
2. Children under the age of 6 should use swimming aides such as inflatable arm bands, inner tube trainers, or swim vests.
3. Never let a child swim unattended. What better way to protect your child than to swim with them.
4. Enroll your kids in a good swimming program to learn to swim. Nothing is better than learning from professionals.
5. If you are visiting a public pool, make sure your child wears a distinguishing bathing suit. You want to be able to spot them easily.
6. Never let a child dive into shallow water. Diving head first into a shallow pool is quite dangerous and can cause severe injury or even death. Make sure you know how deep the water is!