Swimming is a great way to cool off during the hot summer. However, the fun could quickly turn into tragedy if safety steps are not taken. More than 1,000 children die each year from drowning, and many others suffer life-changing injuries. Parents and caregivers need to do their part to keep kids safe in the pool and prevent drowning.
Install a Fence
- Studies have found that half of all swimming pool drownings among children could be prevented by putting up a fence.
- Install a 4-sided fence around the pool that will completely separate it from the house.
- The fence should be at least 4 feet tall.
- There should be less than 4 inches of space between the fence and the ground, and between the slats of the fence.
- The gate of the fence should close and latch automatically by itself. The latch should be out of children’s reach.
- Although pool covers and alarms might be helpful, they are not a substitute for a fence.
Watch Children Closely
- An adult must always watch children in the pool. Never allow children to watch other children.
- The adult should be within an arm’s length of infants, toddlers and weak swimmers in water in order to quickly reach them.
- When watching children in the pool, your full attention is needed. You should not be reading, talking on the phone or chatting with others.
Teach Children to Swim
- Most children are ready for swimming lessons when they are 4 or older. Lessons might be helpful for younger children as well, but not all children will be ready at the same age. Parents should decide when their child is ready.
- Remember that even if a child knows how to swim, it does not mean he will not drown. Even the best swimmers are not drown-proof.
- Parents and caregivers should learn how to swim as well.
Set Rules for the Pool
- Children should never swim alone or with only other kids. An adult always needs to be present.
- The area around the pool will be slippery. Never run, always walk.
- Horsing around inside or around the pool could lead to serious injuries and should be prohibited.
- Swimmers must always enter shallow water feet first. It is never ok to dive into water that is less than 9 feet deep.
- Remove toys from the pool right after using it so kids are not tempted to reach for them.
- Do not use water wings, noodles or other swimming aids in place of a life jacket.
- Parents and caregivers should learn CPR.