Pool Safety Tips
Each year hundreds of children lose their lives due to accidental drowning, and thousands more suffer a lifetime of ill affects after a submersion accident. In fact, in some states, drowning is the number one cause of accidental death for children under five. By taking the right precautions, many of these tragedies may be prevented.
Tips for Pool Owners:
65% of submersion incidents occur in a pool owned by the child’s family. If you own a pool, be sure to take the following steps.
- If possible, keep the pool completely separated from the house and yard with a fence.
- Be sure the fence is at least four feet high containing a self-latching, self-closing gate with a latch out of children’s reach.
- If the house is one side of the four sided pool barrier, be sure to install an alarm on the door leading to the pool.
- Keep rescue equipment and a cell phone by the pool.
- Remove pool covers completely to prevent entrapment.
- Remove stairs from above ground pools when the pool is not in use.
- Keep tables and chairs away from pool fences so that children cannot use them to climb over the fence.
Stay Safe When Visiting the Pool:
- Remove pool toys from the pool when you are done swimming to prevent children from reaching towards the toys and falling into the pool.
- Air filled swim aides and toys are not a substitute for approved life vests and should not be used as safety flotation devices.
- Never leave your children alone in or near a pool; remove all children from the pool area if you need to leave the pool for an emergency.
- Assign a “designated watcher” when attending a social event at a pool. Be sure that person monitors the children continuously during the event.
- Practice “touch supervision” - keep children younger than five at arm’s reach at all times.
- Be sure that babysitters and other childcare providers understand and follow supervision rules.
While it is important to remember that teaching your child to swim does not mean that your child is safe alone in the water, enrolling your children in swimming lessons may help prevent submersion accidents. To find YMCA classes near you look for a local YMCA . It is also critical to stay current on CPR techniques. Visit CPR Week to learn more or find certification classes.
Pool safety goes beyond drowning prevention and awareness. Be sure to use sunscreen with at least an SPF rating of 30, and don’t forget to apply the sunscreen a half hour before heading out to the pool. Even products labeled as “waterproof” need to be reapplied at least every two hours to prevent over exposure to the sun. When applying don’t forget kids’ ears and neck as well as the tops of feet. Consider applying an SPF lip balm as well to protect lips’ sensitive skin. Also, don’t forget to keep children hydrated and outfit them with proper footwear to protect little feet from hot walkway surfaces.
With a little precaution and careful monitoring, we can all enjoy a fun and safe summer…poolside!
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