The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) warns that unless parents and adults do a better job of watching children around pools, over 300 children in the United States, under the age of five years will drown in pools this year.
Drowning in residential pools is the second leading cause of accidental death around the home to children under five years of age. CPSC also reported that 4200 children under the age five are treated each year in hospital emergency rooms for submersion and near-drowning accidents in backyard pools.
CPSC urges pool owners to adopt the following safety practices:
- Constantly keep your eyes on young children while at the pool;
- Never leave young children alone in or around the pool;
- If you leave, even for a few seconds, take the children with you.
- Avoid confusion by always assigning one adult to watch young children who are in and around the pool.
- Know how to administer CPR to a drowning victim before rescue help arrives.
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There Is No Substitute for Active Supervision
- Actively supervise children in and around open bodies of water, giving them your undivided attention.
- Whenever infants or toddlers are in or around water, an adult should be within arm’s reach to provide active supervision. We know it’s hard to get everything done without a little multitasking, but this is the time to avoid distractions of any kind. If children are near water, then they should be the only thing on your mind. Small children can drown in as little as one inch of water.
- When there are several adults present and children are swimming use a strategy which designates an adult as the water watcher for a certain amount of time (such as 15-minute periods) to prevent lapses in supervision.
Educate Your Kids About Swimming Safely
- Every child is different, so enroll children in swimming lessons when you feel they are ready. Teach children how to tread water, float and stay by the shore.
- Make sure kids swim only in areas designated for swimming. Teach children that swimming in open water is not the same as swimming in a pool. They need to be aware of uneven surfaces, river currents, ocean undertow and changing weather.
- Whether you’re swimming in a backyard pool or in a lake, teach children to swim with an adult. Older, more experienced swimmers should still swim with a partner every time. From the first time your kids swim, teach children to never go near or in water without an adult present.
Take the Time to Learn CPR
- We know you have a million things to do, but learning CPR should be on the top of the list. It will give you tremendous peace of mind – and the more peace of mind you have as a parent, the better.
- Local hospitals, fire departments and recreation departments as well as Mobile First Response offer CPR training.
- Have your children learn CPR. It’s a skill that will serve them for a lifetime.
Take Extra Steps Around Pools
- A swimming pool is a ton of fun for you and your kids. Make sure backyard pools have four-sided fencing that’s at least 4 feet high and a self-closing, self-latching gate to prevent a child from wandering into the pool area unsupervised.
- When using inflatable or portable pools, remember to empty them immediately after use. Store them upside down and out of children’s reach.
- Install a door alarm, a window alarm or both to alert you if a child wanders into the pool area unsupervised.
- Remember that swimming aids such as water wings or noodles are fun toys for kids, but they should never be used in place of a U.S. Coast Guard-approved personal flotation device (PFD).