Swimming Pools: Summer Fun or Potential Hazard?
Many people enjoy swimming pools in the summertime, and little if any thought is likely given to the risk of drowning. Yet according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 10 people drown every day in the U.S., and children ages 1-4 have the highest drowning rates.
What Factors May Lead to Drowning?
The main factors that affect the risk of drowning, particularly among young children, include:
- Lack of basic swimming skills
- Lack of barriers, such as fencing, that prevent young children from gaining access to a pool without supervision
- Lack of supervision
- Failure to wear life jackets
- Alcohol use among adults, which is involved in nearly 70 percent of the deaths associated with drowning
Swimming Pool Safety
There are many ways that you can safely enjoy hanging out at the swimming pool and also avoid pool-related injuries:
- Never leave children around water unsupervised, even if they know how to swim and there are other people around.
- Teach children basic water safety.
- Keep your cellphone nearby when you are at the pool in case of emergency.
- Learn CPR, and make sure that anyone who takes your kids to the pool knows it as well.
- If you own a pool, enclose it on all sides with a 4-foot (or taller) fence that is self-locking, self-closing, and constructed with vertical bars. Openings in the fence should be no more than 4 inches wide.
- Don’t leave furniture around the fence — children might use it to climb over into the pool area.
- Keep a pole, rope, and personal flotation devices near the pool and know how to use them to help a struggling swimmer.
- Keep toys away from the pool when they’re not in use — they tend to attract children to the water.
- If a child is missing, check the pool first. Every second counts.
- Never swim during a thunderstorm.
- Only allow diving into a pool that is 6 feet or deeper, but do not dive into any pool that has a sign posted prohibiting it.
Kids at Risk
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates that 300 children younger than 5 drown every year — some in just a few inches of water — and thousands more are hospitalized or suffer brain damage.
Image by PoolSafely