Jumping in the pool can be one of the best ways to cool off on a sunny Georgia day. Unfortunately, the pool isn’t always the safest place, especially for children. Unintentional drowning is the fifth-leading cause of unintentional injury death in the U.S., taking around 10 lives per day. The at risk age for drowning are those under 14. Swimming pool risks don’t have to mean never taking a dip, however. It simply means parents and children should be extra careful. Use these tips to keep your summer pool sessions safe and accident-free:
Teach Children How to Swim
Enrolling your child in swimming lessons early in life can decrease the odds of a drowning incident. While teaching your child to swim doesn’t mean he or she can’t drown, it does mean your child will have the knowledge and skill to most likely swim to the edge of the pool or float until help arrives. Even if your child can swim, do not leave him or her alone in the swimming pool.
Never Leave Children Alone
Never leave children alone in or near a swimming pool. It does not matter if your children can swim, if the pool is shallow, if you’ve told them not to go near the water, or if they have flotation devices, accidents can still happen. Drowning is the leading cause of death for children ages one to four. Most drowning incidents occur right at home. Always have at least one (sober) adult supervising children in a pool. When the pool isn’t in use, employ a gate, fence, pool cover, and/or alarm system to keep kids safe.
Prevent Pool Accidents
Slip and falls on slippery pool decks, lacerations on jagged metal ladders and railings, chemical burns from too-high chlorine levels, illness from mold and algae growth, and accidental drowning after getting stuck in an exposed pool drain are all preventable swimming pool accidents. If you have a pool at your home, it’s your job to keep the area safe and clean for swimmers. Community pool staff and personal pool owners should both actively maintain the pool regularly, checking for known and hidden hazards. Signs to help keep swimmers safe, such as “No Diving" or "No Running" should be used and abided by at all times. For a list of common pool accidents and injuries, there causes, and how to avoid them, read here.
Teach Kids Proper Pool Etiquette
It's natural for kids to be excited around swimming pools. Although the pool is meant to be a fun place, they should learn proper pool etiquette at a young age. Teach kids that running, horseplay, diving in shallow water, etc. is not acceptable while at the pool. All of these activities could result in serious injury and it is important to instill that at a young age.
Keep the Pool Enclosed
If you have a pool at your house, you hold the duty as a pool owner to keep trespassing and wandering children out of your pool. A swimming pool is considered an “attractive nuisance” in the eyes of Georgia law. An attractive nuisance protects children from injury when they go on the premises of another person or company uninvited and get injured playing on something that children want to play on. This means you have greater duties of care in keeping children safe, even children who trespass on your property. Enclose your pool with a proper, unclimbable fence and gate with a lock, or use a pool cover that locks. Community pools typically have lifeguards and take the same precautions that a pool owner should.
Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) is critical in saving the life of someone who has drowned. Performing CPR on the person until paramedics arrive can keep the heart beating, the blood pumping, and oxygen going to the brain. Otherwise, the victim has a much higher chance of suffering brain damage due to hypoxia, or lack of oxygen. Contact your local Red Cross to take a CPR class before throwing your first summer pool party, or make sure you invite an adult who knows CPR. Having a CPR-certified person on hand could save a life.
Keep this spring and summer safe by following the the tips above!