Water Safety 101 – Swimming Pools
May is Drowning Prevention Month. According to the CDC, about 10 people die each day from unintentional drowning. Anyone can drown, regardless of age, swimming ability or the depth of the water. It is the second leading cause of accidental death for children ages one to fourteen, following automobile accidents. Although it is a leading cause of death for younger people, the number of people who succumb to accidental death by drowning is consistent among all age groups. In addition, about ten children per day receive emergency medical care as a result of being submerged in water. Most drowning deaths and accidents are completely preventable. Help keep your children and family members safe by following these safety tips.
Prevent accidental drowning by:
Enrolling your child in formal swimming lessons: The America’s National Institute of Health study concluded that participation in formal swimming lessons, like those offered at Aqua-Tots Swim Schools of Michigan, was associated with an 88% reduction in the risk of drowning for children ages 1 to 4 years (Archives Pediatric Medicine, Vol 163 No 3, March 2009).
Always actively supervising children when they are near water: Eliminate distractions. Things like your phone, a book, or even a conversation can easily allow for a moment you are not watching your children. It only takes a couple of seconds for a child to drown. Because drowning is often a silent occurrence, you cannot rely on listening for distress, actively watching swimmers closely is the best way to keep them safe. Learn how to identify signs of drowning.
Using swimming aids and flotation devices properly: While life jackets, flotation devices, rafts and other flotation devices are meant to help a person float, they cannot be used in the place of adult supervision.
Providing barriers to water: Children should not have direct access to a swimming pool from any exterior door in your home, or from your gate or fence. Making it difficult to access the water with pool fencing, or a retractable ladder will reduce the risk of drowning significantly. The CDC states that you can reduce the risk of drowning up to 83% when a four-sided isolation fence is installed.
Having alarms in place: Install a door alarm or one that is placed in the water so that unauthorized access to the pool and pool area can be easily detected. This is imperative in situations where the pool or pool area can be accessed directly from the home without a second barrier such as a fence, gate or ladder.
Being aware of the dangers of pool covers: Pool covers that float on the surface of the water can pose a serious risk for drowning. Young children may be tempted to walk on them, causing the cover to sink and trap the child under the water. Also, pool covers should always be removed completely when the pool is in use to remove the risk of a swimmer getting trapped under the cover. If you use a pool cover, it is best to have one that is transparent so you can more easily detect if a person has fallen or become trapped by the cover.
Checking the pool first: When it is discovered that children are not where you thought they were, always check the pool and other water sources first. The few seconds may be the difference between life and death.
Learning and maintaining CPR skills: According to the CDC, in an emergency, your CPR skills could save someone’s life when utilized in the time you wait for help to arrive.
Keeping the pool and deck clear of toys: When not in use, make sure you remove any toys, floats and other items that may temp a child into the pool area unsupervised.
No breathing games: If swimmers hyperventilate before swimming or try to hold their breath for as long as they can, they can fall victim to passing out and drown. Instruct children not to participate in games that put their breathing at risk while swimming.
Providing within reach supervision for children under the age of 5: It is highly recommended that children under the age of five be within your reach when in the pool.
Enforcing an adult supervision rule: Be sure the children know they are NOT allowed to go in the pool if there is not an adult actively watching them.
Having a plan in case of emergency: Think about the possible emergencies that may happen and think about how you will handle them. Keep first aid, phone and safety equipment near the pool.
Being aware of the drain: New regulations require that pool drains be rounded so they cannot create suction that may trap child or adult under the water, however some older pools still have dangerous flat drains. If you are unsure of the drain covers at a pool, request that the pump be turned off while swimming. Pool chemicals can keep the pool clean for hours without pump circulation.
What safety tips do you follow for your own pool or community pools? Leave a comment below, we would love to hear from you.
Teaching kids to swim has been the foundation of Aqua-Tots since they began. And today they still take special care to make sure their swim schools are a welcoming, comfortable and inviting place for kids of all ages at our Detroit area locations including Canton, Novi, Sterling Heights, Troy, Auburn Hills and Farmington Hills. Aqua-Tots Swim Schools of Michigan offers swim classes for babies, toddlers, infants, kids, swim team, adults, and children with special needs at over 70 locations worldwide. With never more than 4 students per swim class, this intimate setting provides a great environment for children learning to swim. Call to schedule your COMPLIMENTARY in water evaluation and tour today.
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