swimming pool safetyIt’s summer, and it is hot outside.  A pool is so refreshing this time of year!  Unfortunately, it can also be hazardous for children.  Drowning is the second leading cause of unintentional death for children ages 1 to 14, and a toddler can drown in as little as 2” of water.

To help keep everyone safe, we’d like to share some drowning facts (from knowbeforeyougo.com).

How much time does it take to drown?
In the time it takes to…

  • Cross a room for a towel (10 sec), a child in a bathtub can be submerged
  • Answer the phone (2 min), a child can loose consciousness
  • Sign for a package at the front door (4-6 min), a child submerged in a tub or pool can sustain permanent brain damage

How much water does it take to drown?

  • Inches of water in a bathtub
  • A bucket of water
  • Standing water on top of a pool or spa cover
  • Any amount of water that covers the mouth & nose

Do people always yell for help?

  • Most children do not yell for help
  • Non-swimmers or exhausted swimmers are unable to call for help
  • Drowning victims may be struggling under the water.

Water Safety Tips (from knowbeforeyougo.com and aap.org):

  • Teach children water safety and swimming skills as early as possible.   Classes are recommended for children age 4 and older. Classes may reduce the risk of drowning in younger children as well, but because children develop at different rates, not all children will be ready to swim at the same age.
  • Don’t rely on swimming lessons, life preservers, or other equipment to make a child “water safe.”
  • Always brief babysitters on water safety, emphasizing the need for constant supervision.
  • Never assume someone else is watching a child in a pool area and always maintain constant visual contact with children in a pool or pool area.
  • Appoint a “designated watcher” to monitor children during social gatherings at or near pools.
  • Don’t use flotation devices as a substitute for supervision.
  • Closely supervise children in and around water. With infants, toddlers and weak swimmers, an adult should be within an arm’s length. With older children and better swimmers, an adult should be focused on the child and not distracted by other activities.
  • Equip doors and windows that exit to a pool area with alarms.
  • Install four-sided isolation fencing, at least five feet high, equipped with self-closing and self-latching gates, that completely surrounds the pool and prevents direct access from the house and yard.
  • Never prop the gate to a pool area open.
  • Don’t leave objects such as toys that might attract a child in the pool and pool area.
  • Don’t leave chairs or other items of furniture where a child could use them to climb into a fenced pool area.
  • Install a poolside phone, preferably a cordless model, with emergency numbers programmed into speed-dial.
  • Post CPR instructions and learn the procedures. Keep rescue equipment poolside. Don’t wait for the paramedics to arrive because you will lose valuable life-saving seconds. Four to six minutes without oxygen can cause permanent brain damage or death.
  • Keep a first aid kit at poolside.
  • If a child is missing, check the pool first; seconds count in preventing death or disability.
  • If children are in out-of-home child care, ask about exposure to water and the ratio of adults to children.
  • All children should wear a life jacket when riding in a boat. Small children and non-swimmers should also wear one at water’s edge, such as on a river bank or pier.
  • Parents should know the depth of the water and any underwater hazards before allowing children to jump in. The first time you enter the water, jump feet first; don’t dive.
  • When choosing an open body of water for children to swim in, select a site with lifeguards. Swimmers should know what to do in case of rip currents (swim parallel to the shore until out of the current, then swim back to the shore).
  • Counsel teenagers about the increased risk of drowning when alcohol is involved.