Having a backyard pool when you have kids means enjoying fun-filled days with friends, hosting summer pool parties, and making special family memories. It also means taking extra precautions to make sure this place for recreation and relaxation doesn’t turn into the scene of a tragedy. In just a few seconds, children who aren’t strong swimmers can find themselves in serious trouble if they enter the water unattended.
So what can parents and other caregivers do to make sure kids are safe in and around the pool? Plenty. That’s the topic we’ll tackle in this important series of articles.
Take Pool Safety Seriously
The first step to ensuring that children are safe around the pool is for parents or other responsible adults to make sure they’re giving pool safety the careful consideration it deserves. In case you weren’t aware of the sobering statistics regarding drowning fatalities, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (PDF fact sheet), drowning is number one in the causes of death from injury for children between the ages of one and four.
These drownings are far more likely to take place in people’s backyard pools than in public pools. In fact, 74% of drowning fatalities of victims under the age of 15 were in residential pools, with 50% of those taking place in the victim’s own home pool. Tragically, 62% of these fatal childhood drownings took place when a child was not under adult supervision. Obviously, keeping a close watch on children and knowing their whereabouts at all times is crucial when it comes to child safety around the pool!
With these alarming statistics in mind, it’s time to take a look at some common sense pool safety rules. Every parent or caregiver should learn, follow, and teach these rules to the children under their care.
Always Provide Attentive Adult Supervision Around the Pool
Any time children are in or around the pool, there must be a responsible adult who can swim that is watching them. If a child cannot swim at all or isn’t a strong swimmer, an adult should stay close beside them in the water. The adult providing the supervision must be wholly devoted to the task at hand. This means they’re not distracted with books, magazines, cellphones or conversations with other people. Their eyes and mind must be engaged in making sure all the children in the pool are playing safely. They should be able to recognize signs of danger or distress, such as a child who looks like they’re getting overly tired or beginning to struggle with swimming or breathing. If the adult notices these signs, they should ask the child to get out of the water and take a break from swimming.
The importance of careful adult supervision of the pool area simply can’t be overstated. Children who are being closely watched are far less likely to experience a drowning accident than those who are left in a pool unattended.
In our next article, we’ll consider some other vital pool safety rules you can implement to help keep kids safe in your pool.
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