Summer Safety Basics: At The Pool
With the hot days of summer quickly approaching, your backyard or community pool is probably starting to look pretty refreshing! For kids and adults alike, summer is the perfect time for splashing in the pool, and swimming is a great way to exercise and play. But summer also brings a higher amount of drowning deaths, particularly among children. In fact, drowning is the leading cause of death for children between the ages of one and four. In Florida, enough children drown each year to fill three preschool classrooms. Pool drowning causes the majority of these deaths.
To prevent pool drowning accidents, put up fencing around your pool. The 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 always 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. For older children, an adult should still be present and aware.
When children are swimming, an adult should always supervise, and should not be distracted by a phone, book, or TV. Avoid drinking alcohol while supervising children in the pool. Drowning can occur incredibly quickly, and quick reflexes and thinking can 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 pool 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.
Summer isn’t supposed to be scary, and it doesn’t have to be! Supervise your children, educate everyone about swimming safety, and always stay alert.
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