Drowning is the second leading cause of injury death among children younger than age 14, and the Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates that more than 200,000 swimming-related injuries occur each year. If you have a swimming pool on your property, you are responsible for taking steps to reduce the chance for accidents. Read on for safety tips that can help prevent a swimming pool accident tragedy from occurring in your home.
Prevent Children from Accessing the Pool
If you have a swimming pool in your yard, surround it completely with a four-sided fence that is at least four feet high and secured with a heavy lock. This is the best way to avoid a swimming pool accident. For best results, it should have a self-closing and automatically latching gate, with latches that are too high for children to reach. You should also consider a safety device such as an alarm that sounds when the pool area is accessed. When swimming is over, remove toys, balls, and other enticing objects from the pool area so that children aren’t tempted to enter without supervision.
Always Supervise Young Swimmers
Make sure that an adult who can swim is always designated to watch children who are swimming. If the children are younger than age 5, they should always be in reach of this designated supervisor. Never engage in distracting activities, including using your phone, playing cards, or reading, while supervising children in the pool, as this can lead to a swimming pool accident. You should not drink alcohol while supervising children in the pool.
Be Prepared for Emergencies
Family members who regularly swim in your pool should take formal swimming lessons if possible to prevent a swimming pool accident. Those who don’t know how to swim should wear life jackets at all times. Inflatable pool toys (including “water wings”) are not an effective substitute as they are not designed to prevent drowning. Adults in the household should learn cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), which can save lives and improve outcomes in the case of a drowning accident.
Although having a pool can help you and your family create incredible memories, it’s key to take the appropriate safety precautions to ensure the safety and well-being of everyone who joins you for swimming.