Swimming Pool Safety

By Don C. Keenan

Famil in PoolIt’s that time of year again – when the swimming pool becomes a great escape from the heat. However, pools prove to be deadly for children each year.

Consider the following statistics reported by the Mayo Clinic:

Approximately 300 children under the age of 5 drown in backyard swimming pools nationwide each year.

Nearly 70 percent of the children who drown were not expected to be near the pool when they were found in the water.

In the remaining 30 percent of cases, most children were supervised by one or both parents, proving that it only takes a few moments for a child to slip under the surface and drown.

Use the following tips to ensure fun and safety for your kids in and around the pool.

1 Install pool alarms. Floating pool alarms alert you that something or someone is in the water (like a toddler who accidentally falls in).

2 Fence it in. Make sure access to your pool is blocked. Fences and walls should be taller than a child and completely surround the pool. All gates or doors leading to the pool should be self-latching and impossible for a child to open.

3 Cover it up. A motor-powered safety cover can provide a barrier over the water when the pool is not in use.

4 Maintain proper chemical mixture. Improper chemicals can cause cloudy water that can mask dangers at the bottom or make it difficult to see children under water.

5 Remove toys. Don’t leave pool toys in the water. Children may try to retrieve a toy they wish to play with and fall in.

6 Learn CPR and rescue techniques. Being prepared is often the best defense.

7 Stock first aid equipment. First aid should always be within close proximity of the pool because of the high risk for injury.

8 Monitor your kids at all times while they swim. Never leave a child unsupervised near a pool. During social gatherings near pools, designate an adult to watch the water. 

9 Always have a cell phone or cordless phone close at hand.