Drowning can happen that fast—in the time it takes to walk inside and grab a snack. Drowning is the leading cause of death by unintentional injury in kids ages 1 through 4 and the second leading cause in kids ages 5 through 9 in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Despite all that we know about how to prevent drowning, there are still cases of pool related deaths. These deaths are preventable. Here are some ways to stay safe when using a pool:
- Never leave a child unattended in the pool.
- Have a conversation with your child on steps they can take to stay safe in the pool. Remind them to never go near the pool unless an adult is with them and watching them.
- Always have the proper gates and locks on doors and around the pool. If your child is independently mobile, there should be at least 2 different locks/gates/covers between them and the pool.
- Assign a trusted adult to watch the kids… many accidents happen because everyone assumes that someone else is watching the kids. Regularly discuss and enforce this rule.
- Consider pool safety and swimming lessons a priority.
- Ensure that your pool is in good condition. Check for displaced or absent drain covers, rough edges that can snag a bathing suit, or cracks that can cause injury.
- After swim time, collect and stow all toys and floats, which can be tempting to curious kids.
- Never swim during a storm.
- Make sure you know how deep the water is and never let kids jump in if it is less than 9 ft deep.
- Use proper floatation devices specific to the child’s age.
- Make sure to have kids take breaks in between play time.
- Make sure that children are drinking plenty of water when outside to reduce risk of overheating or heat exhaustion.
- Make sure that kids are wearing and reapplying sunscreen.