Must-Know Rules for Keeping Kids Safe from Drowning
Follow these guidelines to help protect your family from tragedy
Splashing around a pool is the perfect way to cool off during summer, while providing exercise and tons of fun. Backyard pools can also be a safety risk, with about 300 children aged 5 and under drowning in them every year, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). That makes it the leading preventable cause of death for children ages 1–4, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Despite the myth that drowning involves cries for help, they often
happen silently, with adults near or even in the pool often hearing nothing out
of the ordinary, reports the CPSC.
To keep your family safe, SafeKids Worldwide and the CPSC advise you to:
1. Use barriers. In accordance with local regulations, install a fence with self-closing, self-latching gates, all around the pool. If your house makes up part of the barrier, install alarms on doors and windows leading to the pool area, and keep the access point locked and secured with a child safety device. Also, consider a motor-powered pool safety cover, and put away pool toys when not in use to avoid luring a child into the pool.
2. Check the pool first. Because time is vital, if a child goes missing, check the pool or spa first.
3. Watch kids in or around water. Take turns with other parents so an adult (and not an older child) is always watching young kids, without being distracted by a phone or a book. Position an adult within an arm’s reach of all young children. Additionally, ensure older children always swim with a partner.
4. Teach kids how to swim. At minimum, kids should know how to: 1. Step or jump into water over their head and return to the surface. 2. Float or tread water for one minute. 3. Turn around in a full circle and find an exit. 4. Swim 25 yards to exit the water. 5. Exit the water.
5. Empty small wading pools after each use and store them upside down, because it only takes an inch of water for a baby to drown.
6. Create an emergency plan. Learn CPR and basic water rescue skills, keep rescue equipment and a phone near the pool, and know what to do in an emergency.
7. If you suspect your child has inhaled a large quantity of water and they continue coughing or have difficulty breathing, please call 911 or call your pediatrician.
Drowning can occur in the bathtub or even a water bucket, and these spaces are typically where babies and toddlers drown. To help keep your family safe, KidsHealth says: Never leave a baby unattended in the bath. If you must answer the phone or door, wrap your baby in a towel and bring him/her with you; don’t ask an older child to watch the baby. Never leave a container filled with any amount of water or other liquid unattended. Install a toilet-lid locking device and keep bathroom doors closed at all times, or install a doorknob cover.
This summer, get out there and enjoy your
swimming pool; it’s a great way to have fun as a family. Just be sure to do it