Drowning is the leading cause of unintentional death in children 1-4 years. It is a fast, silent killer. But these tragedies can be prevented! Here are a few things to keep in mind so you can enjoy the pool safely all summer long!
Make sure everyone in your pool area knows how to swim. Swimming lessons teaching water safety and introductory swimming are a great option for all ages and are offered at many local gyms and pools. Teaching water safety also means establishing and enforcing rules and safe behaviors, such as “no diving,” “stay away from drain covers,” “swim with a buddy” and “walk please.”
Make sure to:
- Keep children under active supervision at all times.
- Stay in arm’s reach of young kids.
- Designate a responsible person to watch the water when people are in the pool — never allow anyone to swim alone.
- Make sure there is someone nearby who knows how to respond to pool emergencies using safety equipment, first aid and CPR. Be sure to take regular refreshers on those skills.
Secure your pool with appropriate barriers. A 4-foot fence with a self-closing, self-latching gate should be sufficient. Place a safety cover on your pool or hot tub when not in use and remove any ladders or steps used for access. Consider installing a surface wave or underwater pool alarm that goes off if anyone enters the pool.
Keep your pool or hot tub water clean and clear. Maintain proper chemical levels, circulation and filtration. Regularly test and adjust the chemical levels to minimize the risk of earaches, rashes or more serious diseases.
Keep water wings, life jackets and other floaties on hand for beginners.
Stay close, be alert and watch children in and around the pool
- Always watch your children when they are in or near a pool or spa.
- Teach children basic water safety tips.
- Keep children away from pool drains, pipes and other openings to avoid entrapments.
- Have a portable telephone close by at all times when you or your family are using a pool or spa.
- If a child is missing, look for him or her in the pool or spa first.
- Share safety instructions with family, friends and neighbors.
- Pool party? Take turns being the designated water watcher, who provides active supervision and keeps their eyes on the water (not their phone, magazine or other distractions).
Learn and practice water safety skills
- Learn how to swim and teach your child how to swim.
- Learn to perform CPR on children and adults, and update those skills regularly.
- Understand the basics of life-saving so that you can assist in a pool emergency.
- Watch your head and avoid diving in shallow water! You also shouldn’t diving in areas where you don’t know the water’s depth or where there might be hidden obstructions.
- Ask lifeguards or locals about safe places to swim if you’re visiting a beach you haven’t been to before.
Have appropriate equipment for your pool or spa
- Install a 4 foot or taller fence around the pool and spa and use self-closing and self-latching gates; ask your neighbors to do the same at their pools.
- Install and use a lockable safety cover on your spa.
- If your house serves as the fourth side of a fence around a pool, install door alarms and always use them. For additional protection, install window guards on windows facing pools or spas.
- Install pool and gate alarms to alert you when children go near the water.
- Ensure any pool and spa you use has compliant drain covers, and ask your pool service provider if you do not know.
- Maintain pool and spa covers in good working order.
- Consider using a surface wave or underwater alarm.
For more information, visit www.poolsafely.gov.