How Can You Keep Kids Safe Around Water?
By Jennifer Foss, R.N.
(ARA) - As temperatures
heat up, your kids are probably digging out their swimsuits and heading for
the pool. Afternoons of swimming and splashing can burn up a lot of energy,
but pool time fun can also result in accidents. According to the Consumer
Product Safety Commission (CPSC), each year nearly 350 children under the
age of 5 drown in swimming pools. Another 2,600 are treated in emergency rooms
for near-drowning incidents. So how do you protect your children around water?
Consider these suggestions to help ensure safe summertime fun.
Your little "fish"
should never be left unattended around water. Whether you're at the lake,
in your backyard pool, or at the neighborhood pool, young children need constant
supervision. Don't rely on the watchful eye of the lifeguard, either. In a
crowded pool of splashing, boisterous children, it's difficult for a lifeguard
to monitor each child. Children can drown in a matter of minutes. Also, enforce
rules about horseplay and never use floatation devices as a substitute for
Almost 80 percent
of drowning and near-drowning incidents occur at home, according to the CPSC.
If you own a pool, there are safety devices you can use to help protect your
family. A fence should be your first line of defense. According to the American
Academy of Pediatrics, most children who drown in pools wander out of the
house and fall into the pool. When choosing a fence, make sure it's at least
five feet high with a self-closing, self-latching gate.
A motorized pool
cover may also be used, but should not replace a fence. The cover should withstand
the weight of two adults and a child in case someone falls onto the cover
and need to be rescued. Because a child can drown in only a few inches of
water, make sure that the cover is tight enough to prevent standing water.
Never use a pool with its pool cover partially in place, because a child could
become trapped underneath.
Pool owners may
also consider alarms to alert them when a child has entered the pool area
or fallen in the water. Door alarms can warn when a door leading to the pool
is unexpectedly opened. Water disturbance alarms can detect when a child has
fallen into the pool. Parents may also choose to invest in wristband alarms
that signal a remote receiver if a child falls in the pool and gets the wristband
wet. Remember -- alarms are no substitute for proper supervision.
Rely on Your
may help safeguard your children around water, but don't forget about old-fashioned
common sense. Consider these tips before your kids head for the water.
- Keep lifesaving
equipment such as a shepherd's pole, life preserver and rope in the pool area.
- Keep a phone
by the pool in case of emergency, and so you don't need to leave the pool
area. A child can drown in the time it takes to answer the telephone
- Enroll your
child in swimming lessons.
- Make sure
that you and anyone who watches your children knows CPR.