Water safety 411
Sadly, drowning has been one of the leading causes of accidental death in US children ages 1-19. It happens more commonly in boys, and in certain groups (blacks, Native American/Native Alaskan).
So, where are the pool dangers so you can protect your child?
1. Pool drains and hair. A pool drain has a fairly strong suction and it’s possible for a child’s hair to get pulled into it, tangled, and then entrapped. This horrible situation can be prevented by using a special drain cover, a filter pump with multiple drains, or other pressure venting methods.
2. Inflatable, portable pools. Most families do not install fencing around one of these pools and they fall outside building codes requiring a pool barrier. So, they are freely accessible to kids who can enter the pool just by leaning over the side.
3. Early swim lessons. New research from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development shows that children from ages 1-4 do benefit from formal swim lessons and these kids who have had water safety instruction may be less likely to drown. But, just to clarify…not all kids are ready for swim lessons between ages 1-4. But, kids who are developmentally ready to learn may certainly benefit. The AAP does not endorse the infant safety swim programs designed for babies under one year of age.
4. Four sided barriers. Half of swimming pool drownings can be prevented by completely securing the pool area from the rest of the yard.
5. Constant supervision. Parents are on-the-job when kids are in the pool (even those who can swim). Keep your eyes on your child (not on your phone, or involved in a conversation).
6. Touch supervision. Remain at arms length for a smaller child—even in a baby or wading pool.
7. Learn CPR. Adults should be prepared to respond in an emergency.
8. Floaties are not life preservers. Don’t think your child is protected from drowning because he is wearing floaties (inflatable arm bands).