Summer brings the opening of many public and residential pools, which makes the swim season officially underway. Therefore, it is important to practice safety to prevent an accidental drowning.
An estimated 260 children under five years of age drown each year in residential swimming pools and spas. It’s estimated another 3,000 children under age five are treated in hospital emergency rooms following submersion accidents each year. Some of these submersion accidents result in permanent brain damage.
Nationally, drowning is the fourth leading cause of death to children under five. In some states such as California, Florida and Arizona, drowning is the leading cause of accidental death to children under five.
Drowning is a preventable cause of death or injury for children. When proven safety measures are put in place and practiced, you and your family will be much more secure.
The Altadena Sheriff’s Station provides the following safety guidelines:
• Always watch your children when they are in or near a pool or spa, never leave a child unsupervised.
• Teach your children to swim or sign up for swimming lessons.
• Instruct babysitters, friends or family about potential hazards to young children in and around swimming pools and the need for constant supervision.
• Completely fence the pool using a four-foot or taller fence. Install self-closing and self-latching gates. Position latches out of reach of young children.
• Place tables and chairs well away from the pool fence to prevent children from climbing into the pool area.
• Consider using a surface wave or underwater alarm.
• Keep all doors and windows leading to the pool area secure to prevent small children from getting to the pool. Effective barriers and locks are necessary preventive measures, but there is no substitute for supervision.
• Do not consider young children “drown proof” because they have had swimming lessons; young children should always be watched carefully while swimming.
• Do not use flotation devices as a substitute for supervision.
• Never use a pool with its cover partially in place, since children may become entrapped under it. Remove the cover completely.
• Keep toys away from the pool area because a young child playing with the toys could accidentally fall in the water.
• Remove steps and ladders to above ground pools when not in use.
• Have a telephone at poolside to avoid having to leave children unattended in or near the pool to answer a telephone elsewhere. Keep emergency numbers at the poolside telephone.
• Learn CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation).
• Ensure any pool and spa you use has compliant drain covers.
• Keep rescue equipment by the pool.
Only you can prevent a drowning. Watch your children closely. Children can quickly slip away and into the pool.