Planning to head to the pool this week or set up a portable pool in the yard? Nothing says summer like warm temps and cool pools. Refresh your knowledge of pool safety and pledge to be vigilant.
“Drowning is the leading cause of death for children ages 1 to 4 years old and the second-leading cause of injury death for children ages 5 to 9 years,” said Heather Trnka, injury prevention coalition supervisor at Akron Children’s Hospital. “Drownings are silent, they are not like in the movies. Children bob up and down just at the surface trying to get air, they are not splashing around yelling for help. This is why a designated water watcher is so important.”
Trnka suggests parents consider the following when their kids are near any swimming hole:
Never leave a child unattended in or near water
“Most drownings of small children happen during non-swimming times, and every precaution should be taken if you have a pool at home, from fencing, covers, pool alarms and the buddy system.” Trnka cautions. “A recent report by the American Academy of Pediatrics found that nearly 60% of the children who drown were not expected to be at or in the pool, yet they were found in the water.”
Teach children how to swim
Swimming is a lifesaving skill. Everyone should take swimming lessons. There are many free or reduced cost options available. Check with your local YMCA or parks/recreation department.
Be a water watcher
Designate one person to have their full attention on the pool and the children in and around the water.
“That means no magazines, cell phones, tablets are allowed,” said Trnka. “100% attention is on all of the kids, all of the time.”
Restrict access when pools are not in use
If you are using a kiddie or inflatable pool, be sure to empty the water and turn it upside down after every use. Temporary pools should have their ladders removed when not in use.
“Proper fencing around a pool does not have the house as the fourth side of the fence,” said Trnka. “The fence should be at least 4 feet in height and should not be climbable.
Check the water first
If a child is missing, look for him or her in the pool or spa first. This is especially important if your child is prone to wandering. When a child is drowning, seconds count.
For more information on Akron Children’s Safety Around Water Program, a partnership with the Akron YMCA, visit this link.