Young kids are dying in backyard pools. There has been several in the Tampa Bay news in the past weeks. As a father of a 3-year-old, this issue is very important to me and should be important to all poolowners and parents.
Each year, more than 800 children drown in the United States. It happens in backyard pools, lakes and ponds, as you would expect. It also happens in places you may not expect, like puddles and bathtubs. Let’s take a look at some safety tips that we can take into the summer months where water is in the plans.
According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, about two-thirds of the pool and spa-related deaths and injuries involve children ages 1-2, with about 80% of the drowning fatalities occurring in residential settings, such as the victim’s home, a family or friend’s house or at a neighbor’s residence.
Here are a few tips that could save a child’s life:
1. It doesn’t take long for children to drown, and they do so quickly and silently. The key is adult supervision when children are near water. Adults are often close by but get distracted from their duties. Take supervision seriously and make sure a phone is nearby to call for help in case it is needed.
2. Children are attracted to water. Many of these children don’t understand how dangerous it can be and may be discovered in the water too late to help. Make sure your pool has four-sided fencing and a self-closing and self-latching gate. Hot tubs should be covered and locked when not in use. Consider installing motion sensors on your pool.
3. Children can be pulled from the water and may be in need of high-quality cardio pulmonary resuscitation (CPR) prior to the arrival of the firefighter/paramedics. Prompt action can be the difference between life and death. Take a CPR course and get plenty of time practicing on the mannequins.
4. Children from non-swimming households are eight times more likely to be involved in a drowning. Enroll in swimming lessons. Lessons are available for all age groups, and some classes are offered for parent and child together.
If you own a pool and invite guests to your house, as the homeowner, you are legally responsible for any injuries or deaths that may occur because you failed to take precautions to prevent a drowning. Compounded by the emotional cost of a child dying by drowning in your pool, there could be significant financial costs as well.
Take steps now to protect you, your familiy and friends and others from a preventable drowning in your pool. Even if it is simply to avoid being sued because of a drowning, protect your pool now.
For more backyard pool tips that could prevent a drowning (and the potential lawsuit), click here for pool safety tips from the Consumer Product Safety Commission.