#SeasonalSafety: Pool Drowning Prevention
As Floridians, we tend to take our yearlong sun, relaxing beaches, and beautiful scenery for granted. During the holiday season, out-of-state relatives flock to our homes, ready to escape from the chill and snow. If these relatives include young children, you’re probably preparing for a chaotic house. But there is one detail you might be overlooking: the risk of drowning in your pool.
In Florida, enough children drown each year to fill three preschool classrooms. Children between the ages of one through four are the most likely to drown, and most accidents happen in pools. These statistics are just for Florida children, so imagine the danger that a pool presents to a young, curious visiting child who hasn’t spent much time around water.
Where to Start with Drowning Prevention
To prevent drowning accidents, put up pool fencing. The pool fence height should be at least four feet high, and its latches should be out of reach of young children. For extra safety, install an alarm that alerts you if anyone opens the gate and enters the pool area. Remove any objects, like toys or floats, from the pool when it is not in use. These things may entice children to enter the pool unsupervised.
Water safety starts with awareness and supervision. While children are in the pool, always be attentive. For preschool-aged children, practice “touch supervision.” This means that a trusted adult should be no more than an arm’s length away from the child. When children are swimming, an adult should always supervise, and should not be distracted by a phone, book, or TV. Drowning can occur incredibly quickly, and paying attention could save a life.
Children aren’t the only ones at risk of drowning. Plenty of people never learn how to swim, or live in an area where swimming is not a common activity. To prevent drowning accidents in adults, make sure everyone is aware of the pool’s depth, and warn against diving. Be aware that alcohol consumption increases the risk of drowning. Even a strong swimmer, if impaired by drugs or alcohol, can drown.
Consider learning Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR). If CPR is performed safely and effectively, it can save a life, and allows you to help someone before an ambulance arrives for further care. If you frequently have people over to swim in your pool, learning CPR can put your mind a little more at ease.
When family is visiting for the holidays, you should be able to focus on making a delicious turkey, or tying the prettiest bows on top of presents. Take precautions and be aware of the risks, and you can banish accidental drowning from your list of holiday anxieties!
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