Exercise, Prevention, Water

Have a Safe Summer by the Pool

The leading cause of death for American children under five is drowning, and the most dangerous body of water for kids is the backyard pool, says an expert. According to Dr. Natalie Lane, who is medical director of the emergency department at Children’s Hospital of Georgia:

What we often hear in the emergency room is that a group was gathered at the pool for an event or party, but no one was taking ownership of watching the children in the pool. Unfortunately, folks think someone else is watching the kids, or falsely assume that everyone is keeping an eye out. This is where the trouble begins.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that parents not install a home swimming pool until children are beyond age five. Above all, be aware of the safety measures to follow. These include never leaving a child alone in or near a pool. Make sure children are always closely supervised by an adult who can swim. Keep your children in sight at all times. A child can drown in seconds.

Keep children away from pipes, drains and other openings. Don’t rely on inflatable flotation devices; these are toys, not reliable life-saving equipment. Make sure children know how to swim and know basic water safety tips.

Install a fence around the pool, at least four feet high with a self-closing and self-latching gate. Remove all toys and floats from the pool when it is not in use, as that can attract children. Place a safety cover over the pool.

A pool alarm that alerts you when children are near the water is a good investment. Experts also recommend you have a qualified professional inspect drain suction fittings and covers regularly, to be sure they are safe. Make sure you have rescue equipment within reach, along with a phone and emergency phone numbers. Develop an emergency plan, and discuss it with your family.

Take a child CPR course, and ensure other caregivers are also CPR certified. If your child is ever missing, check the pool immediately.

A backyard swimming pool can be a lifelong source of fun and recreation for your family and friends. Just take the precautions necessary to ensure the people you care for are safe and protected.