Nearly every day a child drowns in a swimming pool. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission reports that around 3-thousand kids under the age of 5 are rushed to local emergency rooms because of submersion accidents. Across the U.S., drowning is the fourth leading cause of death to children under 5.
Across the U.S., drowning is the fourth leading cause of death to children under 5.
This is and will always be the most important thing for you, as a parent, to remember: Never take your eyes off your children when they are in the pool. This is your only responsibility when you’re at the pool.
Here are some other safety tips for the pool-bound family:
• Never leave any child, even if it’s not yours, unsupervised near a pool.
• Just because a child has had swimming lessons, accidents can happen in the blink of an eye. Even flotation devices are not fool-proof. There is no substitute for direct supervision.
• If your kid’s toys are near the pool, remove them. A child messing with their above-ground playthings could easily slip and accidentally fall in the water.
• Babysitters need to be extremely aware of the potential hazards to young children in-and-around the pool. If at all possible, the area should be off-limits to the kids and the babysitter when you’re not around.
• Have everyone in the family take a CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) class. It wouldn’t hurt to bring your children with you so they can see the dangers of irresponsible playing around your pool.
• Keep your telephone poolside. That’s not so you can chat with your friends while your child is in the pool. It’s to help you avoid having to leave the kids unattended in or near the water while you run into the house to answer the phone. And since you have your phone, keep emergency numbers near the poolside.
• All rescue equipment should be stored near the pool.
• If you don’t have a fence around the pool, get one before you drip one drop of water into the pool. The gates should be self-latching and self-closing. The latches should be out-of-reach of young children.
• Make sure that chairs, tables and other structures are away from the fence. That kind of stuff makes for a great amateur ladder.
• All doors and windows which lead to the pool area need to be secure. But remember, while locks, fences and other barriers are preventive things to do, direct supervision always floats to the surface.
• Completely remove your pool cover. If it’s still partially in place, it could represent a trap for kids if they get entangled underneath it.
• Above ground pools have steps so you can get into them. When you’re not swimming, remove the steps.
Careful attention to diving should also be part of your overall safety plan. A diving injury can become a living tragedy and has the potential of paralyzing even the most careful swimmers. Here are some precautions for divers:
• Don't drink and dive. Mind-altering substances have a tendency to slow your reaction time to a crawl.
• You never want to dive into pools that are above-ground. They’re just too shallow.
• The side of a pool is a bad place from which to dive. Go feet-first.
• The diving board has a start and an end. The end part is where you should dive from, not the sides.
• When you dive, your hands should be in front of you. When you hit the water, steer-up as quickly as you can so you won’t hit the side or the bottom of the pool.
• Pool slides can be just as dangerous if you’re not using common sense. Always go feet-first. Head-first, if you hit something hard, can ruin your day.
Be safe when in the pool and you’ll enjoy the pleasures that a dip can give. However, if an incident happens, call 9-1-1. Then, after everything has settled down, make another call. This time to the CPSC. You should report incidents of drowning or "near drowning" by calling the Commission toll-free at 1-800-638-2772.