Stay Safe By the Pool With These Tips
First and foremost, children should never be allowed to swim or play by the pool without adult supervision. Children before the ages 1 and 4 have the highest rates of drownings and about 1 in 5 drowning deaths happen in children age 14 and under. For every child that drowns to death, 5 others have to go to the emergency room to be treated for non-fatal swimming injuries. Most accidental drownings in young children happen when their parents or caretakers are nearby, but the child gets into the pool without their knowledge. If you have a pool at your home or are thinking of getting one, at least one adult in the household should be trained in CPR. If something goes wrong, the sooner CPR can be administered, the better.
One of the best ways to prevent accidents by the pool is to invest in a good fence to put around the pool. This can reduce the risk of drowning while swimming unsupervised by 80%. When looking for a pool fence, the important thing to keep in mind is that they can’t be easy to climb. Chain-link fences are very easy to climb, so they aren’t good for use around a pool. Instead, use a fence with vertical slats no more than 4 inches apart. Be sure to keep things like patio furniture and shrubs away from pool fences, since they can provide footholds which could make it possible for fences to be climbed. Pool fences should be at least 4 feet tall and have gates that are self-closing and self-latching. The latch to the gate should be placed high enough to be out of the reach of children.
In addition to a pool fence, you might also want to consider using an automatic, switch-operated pool cover that covers the entire top of the pool that isn’t possible for children to fit underneath. Door, window, or pool alarms could also alert you if someone could potentially be getting into the pool without your knowledge.
When the pool isn’t being used, always remove any toys from the pool area to avoid tempting a child to jump in when they’re not supposed to be in the pool.
If you have an above-ground pool, remove any ladders or steps when the pool isn’t being used and move them to a secured location so children won’t be able to get in the pool if they aren’t supposed to be in it.
Learning proper swimming techniques can be an effective way to prevent drownings. Children aren’t typically developmentally ready to start learning real swimming techniques until they are about 3-4 years old. But many places offer parent-child swimming classes for younger children which can help them become more familiar and comfortable with being in the water. But no matter how good of a swimmer your child may be, it is still essential to supervise them while swimming.
Remember that serious injuries can still happen in shallow pools of water. If you have shallow wading pools or inflatable pools, they should be emptied and deflated when they aren’t being used. Never allow diving in above ground pools since they are not typically deep enough to dive into safely. If you have an in-ground pool, be sure to have something that clearly marks where the pool starts to get deeper.