Summer is here, and for many of us, that means school is out.
Suddenly, we have a lot of hours to fill with our children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews. Trips to the beach, local swimming pools and our own backyard pools are a great way to enjoy the beautiful weather, but also pose a serious safety risk.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 3,500 unintentional, non-boating-related drownings occur each year. Whether you have a pool, your neighbors have a pool, or you just spend a lot of time near the water, here are some safety tips you should know:
- Fence your pool in. Make sure your pool is fully enclosed by a fence at least 4 feet high. Use a self-latching gate with no easily accessible foot or hand holds. Be careful not to store any pool furniture along the outside of the fence that could be used as a ladder.
- Learn CPR. Make sure there is always someone present who knows CPR. You could even post CPR instructions somewhere near the pool in case of an emergency.
- Get your kids swim lessons! The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends swim lessons for all children 4 and older. If you have a pool at your house or frequently visit someone who does, start the lessons even younger.
- Foster respect for rules. Many accidents can be prevented by following basic pool rules like not running in the pool area, avoiding diving in shallow areas and having a buddy system. Remind kids that you don’t hold a friend underwater or encourage someone who can’t swim to go deeper into water than they are comfortable with.
- Supervise kids—always. Make sure there is at least one (if a lot of kids then more) set of adult eyes on kids in the pool at all times. Having a party? Designate a water watcher and have adults take shifts watching over the pool. Print a water watcher card here to have a physical card to pass around to let people who is watching https://www.safekids.org/other-resource/water-watcher-card
- Use drain covers. Every year there are multiple reports of kids getting their bathing suits or hair caught in the pool drains. Avoid the risk of injury by keeping the drains properly covered.