My kids are thrilled … summer is here and our local pool is now open! But I’m in a somewhat different state of mind. Our baby, who was barely crawling last year at this time, is now running full speed … and he loves the water! Although my older children are capable swimmers, I wish I had eyes in the back of my head. The statistics show that drowning is the 2nd leading cause of death to children ages 1-4 years AND children ages 10 – 14 years. Despite the sun and fun, I can’t help but worry that all four of my children fall into these two age groups.
Here are the facts: On average 3,600 children are injured due to near-drowning incidents. Even worse, more than 830 children die annually due to preventable drowning. Nearly 60% of pool drowning deaths and injuries occur at home. Drowning happens quickly and quietly.
If you plan to spend time at pool this summer, or if you have a home pool, review these important safety guidelines. If nothing else, it will give you peace of mind and allow you and your family to enjoy the experience to the fullest:
· If you have a pool, install a fence that completely encloses the area. It has been shown that properly installed four-sided pool fencing may reduce home pool drowning up to 90%! Fence gates should be self-closing and self-latching. (Contact Safe Start Baby if you would like free pool fence estimate- VA/NOVA/MD residents only.)
·Always supervise your children near water. If there is more than one adult, you should designate a “water-watcher”. With several adults present it’s easy to assume that someone else is watching the children. Do not rely on pool lifeguards to watch your child- local pools are often over crowded, and the lifeguards cannot watch every child.
·Be prepared for an emergency by learning CPR. (Contact Safe Start Baby to schedule your in-home CPR training- VA/NOVA/MD residents only).
·Register your child for swim lessons and avoid using “floaties” which could give your child a false sense of security.
·Keep a cordless phone close to the pool area.
·If you momentarily cannot locate your child, look in the pool or other water areas first.
·And as always, constant supervision is the number one way to reduce unintentional injuries.
Visit the International Association for Child Safety to read more about drowning and water safety.