Texas comes in third in the list of states with pools, according to the APSP’s U.S. Swimming Pool and Hot Tub Market report. Despite the fact that most parents teach their kids to swim from the time they are little, we still have much to improve upon when it comes to pool safety, with the USA Swimming Foundation noting that Texas leads the nation in the number of child pool drownings in 2018. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission has therefore urged families to follow specific steps to ensure safety of kids when they are around water.
Keeping a Close Eye on Kids
The list of recommendations includes always accompanying a child when they are in or near water. Drowning can occur in as little as 30 seconds in children and they can drown quietly, without splashing or shouting for parents. To ensure kids are safe in the water, never let them into a large public pool where you can easily lose sight of them. If you are in a group, always ensure that one person at least is in charge of keeping an eye on kids. You should also consider taking a CPR course, so you know how to react if emergency attention is needed.
Swimming Lessons are Key
The more confident children are in the water, the less likely they are to panic in the water and the more likely they are to calmly negotiate their way towards the edge of the pool if they have a cramp or if for any reason they wish to get out of the water. The American Association of Pediatrics says that children as young as one year old can safely commence swimming lessons. Even if they start early, don’t expect them to become competent swimmers until they are aged six or seven.
Safety in the Pool
If you have a pool at home, a quality fence is a must. As a double safety measure, cover the pool with a net when it is not in use; this will also ensure that animals such as cats don’t unwittingly fall into the water. Be aware that pipes and pool drains can entrap children. Ensure that you have a VGB compliant drain cover, to avoid entrapment. This is one reason why even confident child swimmers should never be in a pool by themselves. Consider installing a pool alarm, which will immediately notify you if a child or pet falls into the pool.
Being aware of how quickly and silently people can drown in a pool is important. We sometimes make the mistake of thinking we have more time than we actually do. The best safety bet when it comes to kids in the water is to accompany them, so they are never swimming alone. Older, confident swimmers may wish to swim alone, but they should still be observed by parents or guardians. Finally, safety measures need to be taken by all people with a pool at home, starting with a top quality fence that kids cannot easily open.
Written by Jennifer Hampson