Children And Swimming Pools

Each year, nearly 350 children under the age of 5 drown in swimming pools. Another 2,600 are treated in emergency rooms for near-drowning incidents.

So how do you protect your children around water?

Consider these suggestions to help ensure safe summertime fun. Your little “fish” should never be left unattended around water. Whether you’re at the lake, in your backyard pool, or at the neighborhood pool, young children need constant supervision. Don’t rely on the watchful eye of the lifeguard, either. In a crowded pool of splashing, boisterous children, it’s difficult for a lifeguard to monitor each child. Children can drown in a matter of minutes. Also, enforce rules about horseplay and never use floatation devices as a substitute for supervision.

Almost 80 percent of drowning and near-drowning incidents occur at home. If you own a pool, there are safety devices you can use to help protect your family. A fence should be your first line of defense. Most children who drown in pools wander out of the house and fall into the pool. When choosing a fence, make sure it’s at least five feet high with a self-closing, self-latching gate. A motorized pool cover may also be used, but should not replace a fence. The cover should withstand the weight of two adults and a child in case someone falls onto the cover and needs to be rescued. Because a child can drown in only a few inches of water, make sure that the cover is tight enough to prevent standing water. Pool owners may also consider alarms to alert them when a child has entered the pool area or fallen in the water. Door alarms can warn when a door leading to the pool is unexpectedly opened. Water disturbance alarms can detect when a child has fallen into the pool. Remember, alarms are no substitute for proper supervision. High-tech gizmos may help safeguard your children around water, but don’t forget about old-fashioned common sense.

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