Summer is officially upon us! The heat index is pushing near the 100s, plants are blooming with rich vibrancy, and the pool is ready for swimming. According to the CDC, however, one should be aware that there is an estimated 3,533 unintentional drownings occur each year. The research also showcases that one in five people that die from drowning are aged 14 years and younger, with the highest drowning rates being children ages 1 – 4.
Last week alone in Houston four children drown.
Drowning is Very Preventable
Drowning is largely considered one of the most preventable causes of deaths and this is especially true for young children. With this in mind, here are some safety tips to prevent accidental drowning:
- No matter what their age, consider all children at risk! This includes preteens and teenagers!
- Never leave small children unintended, or under the guidance of anyone that isn’t an adult.
- Practice important water safety tips with your children and teens.
- Ensure the proper maintenance of pools and keep children away from openings, pipes, drains, etc.
- Encourage all family members to learn how to swim, including yourself!
- Learn CPR, pool safety, and water rescue techniques.
- Avoid drinking and eating before pool use. For eating, it is recommended that children wait thirty minutes before swimming.
- Have a mobile or portable phone within the area in order to contact emergency officials immediately should something go amiss.
- Encourage all parties, especially adults, to keep watch of children at play in and around the water. The more the eyes that are observing children the better.
- Potential drowning does not necessarily mean that an individual will flail or shout for help. If a child is still, has their head below water, or is otherwise not playing in the water as they normally would, immediately pull the child out of the water.
- Have children wear life jackets and ensure that life-saving equipment, such as reaching poles and life rings, are available for use.
The above represents basic pool tips for use when engaging in this ageless outdoor activity. However, there are also ways you can help improve your child’s safety by ensuring your pool is fitted with the following:
- Install a fence around the pool and spa. The recommended height is approximately four-feet tall.
- Ensure that all gates around the pool and yard are self-latching as well as self-closing.
- For any windows that face the pool, install window guards for additional support.
- Fit your spa and pool with a safety or weather cover.
- Implement gate alarms around your pool as well as install an underwater or surface water alarm.
Aside from the above tips, you can also visit Safe Kids Worldwide where they have an abundance of resources that include a water safety guide, fact sheets, water watcher cards for those observing children playing in the pool, how-to videos, and additional resources.
As a parent you want your child to enjoy the freedom that summer brings, however it is also important to ensure that this summer is a safe one as well.