Drowning accidents are the leading cause of injury/deaths among children under five. More than 80 percent of the drownings occur in residential backyard pools or spas. It can happen quickly, always without warning, without a splash, and without a cry for help. To help avoid such a tragedy, please read the following pool safety tips.
Secure Pool Area
A fence or barrier completely surrounding the pool can prevent many drowning accidents. Most children who drown or nearly drown were last seen in the yard, porch, or patio prior to the accident. Although a fence separating the pool and spa in the single most effective barrier for preventing childhood drownings, not one method alone is totally effective in preventing drowning accidents. Pool owners can take practical steps to make their pools and spas less dangerous by installing “layers of protection.”
- Pools should be fenced from the rest of the house. Fences should be five feet high.
- The area adjacent to the outside of the fence must be free of objectswhich may aid children in climbing over the fence. These include items such as chairs, tables, tree branches, etc.
- Gates should be self-closing and self-latching, opening outward away from pool.
- A gate latch should be placed at the top of the gate and be inaccessible from the outside by small children.
- All doors and windows leading to the pool should always be secured and locked at all times.
- Additional “layers of protection” include safety covers, alarms on doors and motion-detection devices.
- Remember pool covers, gates and other layers of protection do not replace adult supervision.
- Assign an adult Water Watcher to supervise the pool/spa area, especially during social gatherings.
- Never allow young children to be left alone in and around the pool for a moment. Make sure an adult is always present.
- Babysitters and guardians should always be instructed about potential hazards in and around the pool.
- Never rely on flotation devices or swimming lessons to protect a child. Twenty-five percent of all drowning victims have had swimming lessons.
- Mount flotation devices designed for lifesaving near the pool. Many float-type toys are thought to be lifesavers. They are not! They are only toys and should be used only as toys.
- Look in the pool area first if a child is missing.
- Never keep toys around or in a pool.
- All adults, children and Baby-sitters should learn and practice CPR.
- Keep a telephone outside the pool area. Post the 9-1-1 emergency number on the telephone.