Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Pool Safety Tips

The lazy days of summer are here. Time for fun in the sun! Many families join a community pool or have a backyard pool to help keep their kids busy, provide exercise, hang out with their friends and stay cool.

Before jumping in with both feet, remember to review with your kids the safety rules around pools and other bodies of water:
  • Children must be supervised at all times.
  • Make sure your community pool has an adequate amount of lifeguards.
  • At home make sure you are out on deck to observe. If you have a child under age 5 in the water make sure you are within an arm’s length at all times.
  • It is easy to get distracted when the doorbell rings but do not get tempted to answer it and leave the children alone.
  • Supervising adults should have CPR training.
  • Make sure your pool is fenced in and latched when not in use. Make sure the latch is high enough to prevent young children from opening it.
  • Have a life preserver and phone on hand in case of emergency.
  • Teach children to walk around the pool instead of running. Remember that      in-ground pools have concrete surfaces which can cause serious injuries such as concussions.
  • Make sure your child understands how far out into the pool they can go. Point out the depth markers and set your limit. If your child purposely goes further out than allowed be consistent in making them have a time out. Ignoring their behavior can lead to them getting into too deep of water that they may not be able to handle.
  • Life preservers should be worn even if your child is a good swimmer.
  • Inflatable devices such water wings should not substitute as a life vest.
  • The deep end of the pool should be off limits to inexperienced swimmers.
  • Remember to jump far enough out from the diving board to not get hit by the board’s rebound. Diving should only occur from the diving board, never from the side of the pool to prevent jumping in too shallow of water to avoid serious injury.
  • Check the PH of the water on home pools regularly to make sure bacteria is not a problem.
  • Remind children never to urinate in the pool as this releases bacteria into the water and can cause urinary tract infections.
  • Make sure you put sunscreen on before entering the pool. The sun’s reflection on the water will cause sunburn to occur quicker.
  • Remove all toys and cover the pool when not in use so children are not tempted to go in without supervision.
  • For above ground pools always make sure you take the ladder out of the pool when not in use.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that a swimming pool should not be installed in your back yard until all children in the home are over 5 years of age.  Children age 4 and older should learn to swim. Children who cannot swim tend to panic when they get in to deep water because they don’t know what to do. Even good swimmers can drown so always be vigilant around water.

Drowning is the second leading cause of injury-related deaths in children up to age 15. It happens so quickly that a child can lose consciousness within 2 minutes and irreversible brain damage can occur within 4 to 6 minutes. Drowning is known to be a silent killer.

Pools are not the only water hazards to children. It only takes one to two inches of water for drowning to occur. Around the house make sure to never leave a young child alone in a bathtub even with a supporting baby seat. Buckets of water should never be left unattended. Toilet seats should always be down. Ponds and fountains should have a safety fence around them to keep children from falling in. Window wells should be covered.

For more tips on pool safety go to:

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