Keeping Our Children Safe at the Pool

There is nothing better on a hot summer’s day, than splashing around in the backyard pool. Such summer fun, however, comes with the responsibility to keep young, novice swimmers, especially toddlers, safe.

Along with the hours of enjoyment a pool can bring, comes some startling facts and statistics:  

1. 10 people drown every day

2. Over 3,000 people drown every year

3. Drowning is the leading cause of death of children between the ages of 1 and 4 years old. 

4. Sadly, according to a recent study by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 800 children drown nationwide.

5. Half of the children who drown are under the age of 5.

Adding to these numbers is the unfortunate misconceptions surrounding the drowning of a child. 

6. In a survey performed by www.safekidsworldwide.org, nearly half of the parents surveyed thought that if a child were drowning nearby, they would hear the child struggling. Reality: Drowning is silent. There can be very little splashing, waving or screaming.” 

7. 1 out of 3 parents have left a child alone in a pool for two or more minutes. Reality: Drowning is quick. “Once a child begins to struggle, you may have less than a minute to react.”  

8. 60% of parents surveyed would not worry as much about drowning if their child has had swim lessons. Reality: Swim lessons are essential, but skill level varies. “A review of children who drowned in a pool revealed that 47% of 10-17 year olds reportedly knew how to swim.”

Ways to Help Keep Children Safe While Swimming

So, what can we do to prevent these tragedies from occurring? According to the organization Stop Drowning Now www.stopdrowningnow.org, some tips to keep loved ones safe in the pool should include:

  1. Teaching children to ask permission before getting into the pool. Then reinforce it over and over again.
  2. Supervision – Parents/caregivers must commit to watching children in the pool – no distractions allowed!  Drownings can happen in a matter of seconds.
  3. Consider swimming lessons. Statistics show that providing young children with swimming lessons teaches them water safety at an early age.
  4. Learning CPR. Always be prepared for an emergency.
  5. Avoiding alcohol.
  6. Utilizing life vests. Don’t depend on floaties and other tubes to support a child.
  7. Don’t play breath-holding games.
  8. Fencing in home pools and add safety alarms.

The Red Cross has a free app that “includes games and videos for kids, plus a swim lesson progress tracker. The app also provides the latest in water safety guidance to help ensure your family stays safe in, on and around water.” www.redcross.org. You can download the free app from the AppStore or text “SWIM” to 90999.

Have a wonderful, SAFE summer!