Child Care and Safety
In-Ground & Above Ground Swimming Pool Safety
One of the leading causes of death to children under the age of five is due to drowning in a residential swimming pool. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission has estimated that 300 children each year between the ages of one and three drown, while over 3,000 children under the age of five are treated in emergency rooms around the country for submersion accidents that occur in swimming pools in their own backyard. These statistics are alarming, given the fact that this is a preventable tragedy.
To prevent deaths and injuries due to submersion accidents in swimming pools, the CPSC offers parents and caregivers some tips:
- Never leave a child unsupervised when there is a pool nearby that may draw their attention.
- Install a fence around the pool that includes a self-closing and self-latching gate. Make sure that latches are not within a young child’s reach. If necessary, use a secondary locking system that a child cannot easily open. Keep all ladders, chairs or other objects that a child can climb on to get over the gate, away from the fence or gate area.
- Never feel that your child is safe just because they have had swimming lessons. Even an experienced swimmer can slip or hit their head, which ultimately can lead to them being knocked unconscious.
- Do not leave a child unattended near or around a pool with flotation devices as protection and alternative to supervision even for a second.
- Never allow a child to use a pool that is partially covered. Small children, as well as others, have been trapped under pool covers. Covers should always be removed completely when a child is using the pool.
- If you have patio furniture, such as tables and chairs, make sure that they are not placed close to the walls of the pool. Children will climb them and fall into the water when you least expect them to.
- Toys and other objects should be removed from a pool or pool area. These objects often attract a child’s attention and make them curious. The less appealing the area is for the child, the better it is for their safety.
- All babysitters and caregivers should be instructed in the potential hazards that pools can be for young children. Make sure that you can trust that a caregiver will give your child constant supervision and knows the necessary first aid skills in the event of a submersion accident.
- Install alarms on gates and fences that will alert you to when a gate is opened.
- Install an alarm on your pool, which will alert you when someone or something falls into the water. These have helped to save many children’s lives. However, there is never an adequate substitute for constant, proper supervision.
- If you can, have a telephone by the pool so you can answer calls easily or make emergency calls quickly, in case of emergency. Never leave a child unattended to answer a telephone call, answer the door, or anything else that may occur.
- Make it mandatory for anyone who is to supervise a child around a pool to learn CPR, including yourself.
- Always have rescue equipment available in the pool area. It is important to make sure that it is properly stored because otherwise, safety equipment can also become an accident waiting to happen if a person trips over it.
- Even if you think that you will leave the child alone for a seconds, keep in mind that that is all it takes for an accident to occur. A temper tantrum or argument is much better for a few minutes than a lifetime of regret and pain caused from burying a child.