Learn How to Stay Safe in and Around the Pool
Learn How to Stay Safe in and Around the Pool
Water Safety 101 with Richardson Richardson Boudreaux PLLC
Drowning is the leading cause of preventable death for children ages 1 to 4. The key word here is preventable. With proper pool safety in both public and private pools, you can keep children (and adults) safe from drowning.
Children can down in less than 2 inches of water, so whenever your child is near a body of water, you need to be watching them. When a group of adults gets together, it can be tempting to take your attention off the kids, but as Parents.com explains:
“When everybody’s watching, nobody’s watching.”
In groups, designate a “water watcher.” Some parents like to designate the water watcher with a special card or tag, which you can order here or print and laminate here. If you are the water watcher, keep your full attention on the pool, and keep your phone on silent and in your bag (you should always have it fully charged and with you in case of emergencies).
When young children are in the water, you should also use “reach supervision” and ensure there is a competent adult within arm’s reach of the child at all times.
You should use these strategies even when a lifeguard is present.
It is never too early or too late to teach your children how to swim. Research suggests early childhood swimming lessons or “swim survival” classes reduce the chance of drowning for infants and toddlers.
Safekids.org recommends every child learn the following water survival skills:
- Stepping or jumping into water over their heads and returning to the surface
- Floating or treading water for 1 minute
- Turning around in a full circle and locating an exit
- Swimming 25 yards to exit the water
- Exiting the water and being able to exit without a ladder in a pool
Even if your child is a strong swimmer, you should keep a close eye on them when they are in the pool. Most water safety resources recommend swimming with a buddy – even for adults!
Don’t Rely on Swimming Aids
Floaties are pool toys and they will not save a child from drowning. They are also not a substitute for life jackets or U.S. Coast Guard-approved personal flotation devices (PFDs).
As much as you want to prevent emergencies, you should know what to do if one arises. If you have a private swimming pool, you need to know CPR, and you should know CPR, even if you’re taking your children to a public pool.
The American Red Cross offers CPR Certification classes across the United States.
If you have a pool or hot tub at home, make sure to keep it clean and well-maintained. Pool chemicals can be great for killing diseases, for example, but when they are mixed or stored improperly, they can cause injury.
When you’re not using your pool chemicals, keep them out of reach of children in a locked, well-ventilated area.
Another concern, especially in hot tubs or spas, is drain covers. Due to the tragic death of a young girl, Congress passed the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act in 2007. Make sure your drain cover is compliant and free of cracks or missing screws. In public pools, encourage children to stay away from drains and speak up if a drain cover appears unsafe.
Before allowing guests into your pool or spa, know where the emergency vacuum shutoff is located.
Enact safety rules for children and guests who play in or around your pool. Examples include:
- No running
- No diving
- No swimming without an adult
- No dunking or holding anyone underwater
When your pool isn’t in use, make sure children cannot access it. Build a pool fence, keep the gate locked, and consider installing an alarm system that alerts you when gates are opened, or when someone jumps or falls into the pool. A child can drown silently within 30 seconds, so if a child goes missing, check the pool area first!
Another strategy to keep unwanted guests out of your pool is to install a rigid, preferably motorized pool cover. Just make sure it fits securely over the pool’s entire surface so no one can slip underneath and become trapped.
Keeping your pool locked down when it’s not in use may seem like a lot of trouble, but it could save a child’s life. One mother who lost her infant child to drowning emphasizes:
“Having an unfenced pool is like having an uncaged lion in your backyard.”
What If Something Goes Wrong?
Despite your best efforts, your child could have an accident in your home or even at a neighbor’s home or a public pool. If your child is injured or killed by someone else’s negligence or a defective product, our team at Richardson Richardson Boudreaux PLLC can help.
Discuss your situation with us during a free consultation – schedule yours now at (918) 347-6456 or online.