Pool Safety: Protecting your children

The weather is finally starting to heat up and that means the summertime pool parties have arrived.  We’re providing you with some pool safety tips to help prevent injuries from happening this summer.

 1.       How to prevent children from drowning.  Drowning is the most obvious danger and children age 1-4 have the highest drowning rates.  Here are some easy ways to prevent that.  When small children are swimming, an adult with CPR training should be no more than arms length away from the child and actively supervising the child.  A large percentage of drowning events occur in with parents nearby where adults are simply not paying.  Contrary to how it’s depicted in television, drowning is a silent event that does not include the splashing and thrashing that we have come to see.  It is also important to clear the swimming area of pool toys once you are done swimming to prevent temptation for the child to go back in the water on his/her own.  As anyone with kids knows, they can disappear in an instant, and the last place you want them to go alone is in to the deep end of a pool to retrieve an inflatable raft or other pool toy.

 2.       Pool chemical safety.  The Poison Control Center receives as many as 10,000 reports of exposure to chlorine in pool chemicals annually with two in every five cases involving children under the age of 6.  Another 4,000 cases are reported for respiratory and eye irritation, usually from improper storing, mixing or use of pool chemicals.  The solution: Store pool chemicals separately in a dry location away from heat or sunlight (a top shelf of a kitchen cabinet is a safe location out of the reach of children).  Also, do not mix chlorine-based products because any mixture with an acid can release a deadly chlorine gas.  Also, consider a “natural swimming pool” which disinfects a pool without the use of dangerous chemicals such as chlorine.

 3.       Learn and teach basic lifeguard techniques.  You don’t have to become a certified lifeguard to keep your children safe in a pool.  However, it is worth your time to learn how to spot drowning, how to perform basic lifesaving techniques, and how to perform CPR on children and adults.  If you’re swimming at a neighbor’s pool, there is no lifeguard on duty.  So the burden to protect young swimmers falls on you.  Once you are confident in your abilities to perform these basic techniques, train others.  The more adults that learn this valuable skill set, the safer your children will be.

 The summertime is a great time to play outside.  These basic safety tips can help keep your children safe around the pool during this exciting time of year.