Now that the heat of summer is upon us, it’s only natural for kids to gravitate toward swimming pools — whether public pools or in someone’s back yard — as the perfect way to cool off and have fun.
Unfortunately, drowning is the leading cause of death for children ages 1 to 4 in preventable injuries, and most of those occur in a swimming pool, according to Safe Kids Worldwide.
Adults should keep an eye on children at all times when they are near a pool, and keep younger children within arm’s reach. Older children should swim only with a partner, adds Safe Kids.
According to Parents magazine it’s important to know where your children are at all times if the pool is your own, and surround it on all four sides with a fence at least 4 or 5 feet high. Make sure the gate to the pool is self-closing and self-latching and that it opens out.
If possible, attach locks and alarms to all doors, gates and windows leading to the pool, and don't leave toys in the pool area or put anything in the pool that looks like a toy, says Parents. Young children have drowned trying to reach floating toys.
Teach kids to swim or invest in swim lessons, and have them learn the following water skills, says Safe Kids:
- Step or jump into water over their heads and return to the surface;
- Float or tread water for one minute;
- Turn around in a full circle and find an exit;
- Swim 25 yards to exit the water; and
- Exit the water. If in a pool, be able to exit without using the ladder
Learning CPR and basic water rescue skills may help you save a child’s life.
Presence Saint Joseph Medical Center
333 North Madison St., Joliet, IL