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Swimming with your kids is a lot of fun, especially during summer. You can spend the day frolicking in the pool, splashing water, and just sharing laughter.
But while a backyard pool may seem like all fun and games, it also means more responsibility for you as a parent.
See, accidents can happen any time and to anyone, but more so for children.
What Does Statistics Say?
Did you know that drowning ranks fifth among the leading causes of unintentional injury death in the United States?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there are about 10 people who die from drowning every day and 2 of them are children 14 years old and younger.
Furthermore, drowning is the leading cause of death among kids aged 1 to 4 years old, ranking higher than any other causes except for birth defects.
At this age, children are also known to have the highest drowning rate, and usually, accidents occur in their home swimming pools.
On the other hand, if a child survives being drowned, he or she can suffer from nonfatal injuries. Such injuries are known to cause severe brain damage, resulting in long term disabilities including learning disabilities, memory problems, and loss of basic functioning.
Looking at all this data, you must follow strict safety precautions whenever your kids are in and around the pool. While nothing can replace vigilant supervision, you can take additional steps to safeguard your active and fearless kids when they’re around the water.
To help you, here’s an extensive guide on pool safety for kids.
How to Keep Kids Safe in the Pool
Talk to your children
The first thing you have to do is to educate your kid/s. You probably talked to them about not trusting strangers, the importance of their seatbelts, or how to cross the street. Drowning and water safety is an equally important topic. It is dangerous and it can take a life away in just minutes.
So teach your kids about how water and the pool can be dangerous too. Make them understand why it’s important to always ask for permission before going near the water.
Always have an adult nearby
Whether it’s in your backyard or a public swimming pool, it’s important to have a designated guardian who’s looking after the kids even when there’s a lifeguard on duty. This person should stay within an arm’s reach and close enough to take action in case something happens. Take note that this person should be an adult and not another child.
Furthermore, don’t rely on the idea that because there are many of you then nothing can happen. In this scenario, it’s highly likely that you’re all thinking the same thing – that someone’s always watching – so you all become lax. Then that’s when accidents happen.
If you have a pool, make sure to install barriers. These serve as an extra layer of protection for a child who seems to always escape supervision. They can also give you additional time to find your child before anything bad happens.
Barriers separate your pool from your backyard and house. It can be a fence, a wall, or a combination of both. It is at least 4 feet tall, has no gaps that a kid can go through, self-closing and self-latching gates, and made with latches that kids can’t reach.
You can use this Safety Barrier Guidelines for Residential Pools for reference.
- Install a pool gate alarm
Along with your barriers, install a good pool gate alarm that creates a buzzing sound every time the gate to the pool is opened.
- Put the toys away
Toys near the pool are dangerous. Kids, or even adults, may trip over them and you know what happens next. Toys can also attract kids to the pool. So when you notice them scattered around, put them away.
Since we’re on the topic of toys, we recommend against using them for support. Don’t depend on floaties, noodles, water wings, or inner tubes. If you plan on buying a floatation device for your kid/s, make sure to look for those labeled with “Coast Guard Approved.”
Take note: don’t use floatation devices as a substitute for watching over kids.
Invest in other pool technologies
There are a lot of products in the market today that are specifically designed to help prevent kids from drowning. For one, there’s a sonar device that alerts you when something is in the water. There’s also a floating alarm that sets off a sound if there’s a disturbance in the water.
Lastly, there are motorized power safety covers that you can put on when the pool is not in use. This makes the water inaccessible to children. Just make sure that the cover you choose fits the entire surface of your pool.
In case of emergencies, it’s better to be ready. So keep a phone close by and a U.S. Coast Guard-approved equipment including reach tools, lifebuoys, and life jacket.
More importantly, knowing proper CPR can make all the difference between life and death.
Thus, consider learning it.
Things You May Need To Improve Pool Safety For Kids
Frequently Asked Questions About Pool Safety For Kids
If you can’t find the answers to your questions above, it may be included in our list of FAQs here:
How quickly can a child drown?
Contrary to what you always see on the TV, a drowning person does not splash, wave her hands, or yell for help.
If a child drowns, it will be quiet and quick. It takes just 10 seconds for a child to drown or be submerged in water, 2 minutes for her to lose consciousness, and 4 to 6 minutes to sustain permanent brain damage. For an adult, it takes around 10 to 12 minutes before death. But for a child, this can happen much quicker.
Can I leave my 4-year-old in the bath alone?
No. It is suggested that you wait until your child is 8 years old before allowing her to dunk in the bathtub alone. This is because it only takes seconds before children slip and drown even in a few inches of water.
Can a child recover from drowning?
If you can perform CPR within 5 minutes since she drowned and bring her breathing back, usually, she’ll recover. 5 minutes is the max time the brain can handle a lack of oxygen. Anything beyond that means the child will experience permanent brain damage and disabilities.
What to do if a child is drowning?
1. Act fast
2. Take the child out of the pool or water
3. If you’re alone, call 911. If you’re not alone, ask someone to call 911.
4. See whether the child is breathing and check for responsiveness
5. If the child is unresponsive and not breathing, start CPR. Here’s a link from American Red Cross on proper child and baby CPR.
How much does protect a child pool fence cost?
A pool fence can cost somewhere between $500 for a short fence and $5,000 for a large-scale fence.
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