In many areas of the country, a swimming pool is considered a necessity. Swimming is a great way to get in shape, stay in shape and spend time with friends and family. In some cases, though, without proper precautions a swimming pool can be a dangerous place for children and pets. The alarming statistic is that about 300 children under the age of five drown annually and more than 2,000 children suffer submersion injuries.
There are some specific pool safety tips to prevent drowning or injuries:
- Limit alcohol intake while in the pool. Just as alcohol impairs judgment and slows reflexes when you’re driving, it does the same when you’re swimming. The effects of alcohol are enhanced by exposure to heat and sun which makes it an even more dangerous combination. Avoid alcohol while swimming and while supervising the children.
- Using life jackets should be mandatory for children who can’t swim and even for those who can. Anyone who is not fully comfortable in the water can benefit from the use of a life jacket. Never rely on water wings or other float devices to keep your children safe.
- Supervision and locking gates should be in place and used at all times. It’s typically a lack of supervision and an unlocked swimming pool deck that leads to accidents. Children should always be closely supervised when in and around the swimming pool. The “no running” rule needs to be enforced. When the swimming pool is not in use, the cover needs to be replaced and the gate needs to be locked.
- Learn how to swim and teach everyone else how to swim. Formal swimming lessons are valuable and can reduce the risk of drowning by close to 90%.
- Regardless of the number of adults around the swimming pool make sure someone is designated to watch the children. Don’t leave supervision to chance and don’t get distracted from this most crucial task.
- Never swim alone. Whether you’re an adult or a child, swimming should always be done in pairs.
- Someone in the family should learn CPR and there should always be life-saving materials in the swimming pool area.
- Make certain that slides or diving boards aren’t used in a pool full of swimmers unless there is a designated area.
Common sense and careful supervision will help to ensure that your summer will be fun filled and safe this year.