Nearly 1,000 kids die every year by drowning. And most drownings take place in home swimming pools. It is the second leading cause of accidental death for people between the ages of 5 and 24. Here are some basic pool safety tips to keep your kids safe:
- Never leave children unattended in or around a pool. Always designate an adult to watch the children in the water.
- Teach children age 4 and older how to swim. Parents may decide to start swimming lessons before age 4 if their children are developmentally ready, but swim programs should never be seen as “drown proofing” a child of any age.
- Establish and enforce pool rules. Teach your children basic safety rules such as no one swims alone, stay away from drains, no running and no diving (if appropriate).
- Install a four-foot or taller fence around your pool and use self-closing and self-latching gates. The latches should be out of the reach of young children. If your house is the fourth side of a barrier, secure doors with alarms that prevent children from wandering into the pool area.
- Take extra precautions with above ground or inflatable pools. Remove access ladders and secure the safety cover whenever the pool is not in use.
- Have children wear an U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket. Do not rely on water wings or inflatable toys.
- Be prepared for emergencies. Keep rescue equipment such as a shepherd’s hook (a long pole with a hook on the end) a life preserver and a cell phone near the pool in the event of an emergency. Know CPR.
- Teach alcohol awareness to teens, especially boys. Inform teenagers about the increased risk of drowning when alcohol or illegal drugs are involved. Because teenage boys are at much higher risk of water-based injuries than girls, they warrant extra counseling.