Pool safety is one of the most important things to think about during the summer months that somehow we never think about. Below are some of the biggest things you can do to protect your children from the number one cause of death by unintentional accidents in kids from 1-4 years old and the number two cause of death in children 5-9 years old.
But we don’t have a pool in our yard? We only go to the public/neighborhood pool, and they have lifeguards.
Unfortunately, just because you and your family do not have a below or above ground pool in your yard, that does not mean that every single house your children visit does not. Even during this pandemic, we know that isolated family and neighborhood events are beginning to open back up. Please ask the parents of your children’s friends and your neighbors if they have a pool. If the answer is yes, then ask if they have four-sided fencing around that pool. If the answer is no, then that means there should not be any unsupervised time alone at that particular house.
While perhaps not even open during the pandemic, public pools can, in normal circumstances, be crowded and overfull. Having a dedicated parent or guardian who watches over your children while swimming and playing is always recommended and heavily encouraged. Accidents happen, and we want to provide our children with the safest and most secure fun.
At Home Fencing
It is not enough to have three-sided fencing around your pool. That may prevent neighborhood children from accidentally finding themselves in your backyard pool but, it does little to nothing to prevent your children from exiting the backdoor and falling into the pool completely unobserved.
While fencing is not legally required in many states, and it may not aesthetically match the look that your family wants for the backyard, your children being safe, and preventing drownings are more important.
If you have an above-ground pool and fencing is impossible, remove the exterior ladder and anything else that is used to enter the water entirely from the pool area after you are finished swimming each time. This will prevent children from trying to swim or get in the water without you.
Keeping a Well Maintained Pool Area
Along with having a professionally clean pool that is clear and easy to see into, removing any toys or water floats from the pool and the deck area will help keep your backyard pool safe. Children are curious and playful. If they see their brightly colored toy at the bottom of the pool and no one is around, they will want to get in to play. Removing that temptation removes that particular risk.
Keeping a shepherd’s crook or pole, Coast Guard approved ring, and floats in the same place on the pool deck will allow you to react quickly if the need arises. Ensure that any drains or suction are properly covered and taken care of to prevent swimmers from being caught and held underwater. And if possible, cover your pool with a ridged, preferably motorized, cover every time you are not actively in the water or on the pool deck watching your family.
Don’t Trust Pool Floaties
As discussed in previous blogs, pool floaties, arm floaties, and floating loungers are not to be trusted to prevent your child from drowning. They are only toys and should only be used with direct parental or guardian supervision.
The only kind of floatation devices that can be trusted to protect your child are those labeled with “Coast Guard Approved”. Even then, those devices are only to be used with direct supervision.
Older Children Need Supervision Too
Health issues, muscle cramps, or passing out can happen to older children and even adults. If unsupervised, these too can lead to drowning. Just because somebody can swim doesn’t mean they should swim alone. And never mix swimming or supervision with alcohol.
We hope this helps you get a good jumping-off point in your family’s pool and water safety journey. Talk with your kids about the dangers of being in the water by themselves, just like you explain about crossing the street, or talking to strangers. And while texts from family and friends are fascinating, please don’t let them distract you from making sure the children are swimming safely.
Please call our office at 540-349-3225 if you have any questions or concerns about water or pool safety or just want to speak with your provider.