Splashing and taking a dip in a swimming pool is a sure way to have fun and cool off. But it’s important to make safety the number one priority to protect our children in and around the water. Drowning is the leading cause of death among young children between the ages of 1 and 4. For every child under the age of 15 who dies from drowning in a pool, another 10 receive emergency care for nonfatal drowning injuries. Brain damage and long-term disabilities, including memory problems, learning disabilities and permanent loss of basic functions can occur as a result of nonfatal drowning. This can be scary, but the good news is that drowning can be prevented. Here a few tips to keep your child safe when you own a pool.
This is probably the number one way to keep your child safe. Preventing unintended pool access will greatly reduce the risk of water related injury or deaths. Never leave your child alone in or around the pool. Barriers, such as fencing, door locks, gate locks and alarms should be put in place to prevent young children from entering the pool without supervision. Most children who have drown in pools were last seen in the house, had been out of sight less than five minutes and were in the care of one or both parents at the time.
A fence can significantly reduce the risk of injury or death among small children. Children can very easily climb out a window, through a doggy door, sneak out a door to get into the back yard and into the pool. A good way to prevent small children from getting into the pool without supervision is to install a fence that completely surrounds the pool. This combined with careful supervision of an adult can ensure the protection of your child.
Signing your child of for formal swimming lessons can get them introduced to water-safety skills and training at a young age. And the younger the better. The American Academy of Pediatrics supports swimming lessons for children as young as one year old. It is important to remember that every child develops at different rates so each will be ready to swim on his or her own time. It has been shown that participation in formal swimming lessons can reduce the risk of drowning among young children by as much as 88 percent, especially those between the ages of 1 and 4 years who are at the greatest risk of drowning.
Another great way to protect your child is the use of properly fitted life jackets. Even in a pool, inexperienced swimmers and younger child can greatly benefit from life jackets. Air-filled or foam toys, such as “water wings,” “noodles,” or inner-tubes should not be used as a replacements for life jackets. These are toys and not properly designed to keep your child safe.
Performing CPR has been proven to improve the outcomes in drowning victims. Rather than waiting for emergency personnel, starting CPR immediately can help reduce the risk of injury or death. Learning CPR is a great way to protect your child and keep them safe around the water.
These are just a few tips to help improve the safety if your child while owning a pool. If installing a pool, always do your research so you can ultimately protect your child from any possible accidents that may occur.