Editor's Note: the following tips were contributed from Good Samaritan Hospital.
Drowning is the second leading cause of death from unintentional injuries among children ages 1 through 14. It can happen very quickly and in less than one inch of water, so filled bathtubs, swimming pools, wading pools, hot tubs, buckets of water and even sinks can be dangerous. With summer under way, practicing pool safety is of the greatest importance.
“A child’s enchantment with a swimming pool on a hot day is undeniable. Adults should be aware of the dangers that pools present for children. Teach your children to swim at a young age and take classes in CPR. Always have a phone nearby and don’t be distracted,” stated Good Samaritan Hospital Medical Center’s Director for the Center for Pediatric Specialty Care Barry Goldberg, MD.
Use the following tips to practice proper pool safety.
- Never leave a child alone in or near a pool, even for a moment. Children should be actively supervised by an adult who knows CPR at all times.
- Practice “touch supervision” with children younger than five years old; this means the adult is within an arm’s length of the child at all times.
- If planning a pool party, consider hiring a certified lifeguard to supervise. It is required by law that you separate a pool from your house with a fence at least four feet high.
- Use gates that self-close and self-latch, with latches higher than a child’s reach. Most young children who drown in pools wander out of the house and fall into the pool.
- Keep rescue equipment (such as a shepherd’s hook or life preserver) and a telephone by the pool. The use of air-filled “swimming aids” as a substitute for approved life vests is not recommended. Remove all toys from the pool after use so children aren’t tempted to reach for them.
- Remember to always secure a pool when not in use so children can’t get back into it.
Teaching children how to swim does not mean they are safe in the water. There is no substitute for adult supervision and respect for the water.
“Remember that it only takes a split second of inattentiveness to change a child’s life forever,” stated Dr. Goldberg.