Why is Pool Safety Important?
As visions of summer vacation dance in the minds of kids, parents, and teachers, it’s time to either start preparing your backyard pool for the flocks of neighborhood children or to renew that expired pool membership!
Before you take that first plunge into the deep end, however, it’s important to take a moment to reflect on the importance of pool safety. According to the Centers for Disease Control, “Drownings are a leading cause of injury death for young children ages 1 to 14, and three children die every day as a result of drowning. In fact, drowning kills more children 1 to 4 than anything else except birth defects.”
In a ten-year period from 2005-2014, there were an average of 3,536 drowning deaths in the United States each year. That’s more than 10 deaths per day!
Tip #1: Make Sure Your Poolside Guests Know How to Swim!
May is National Water Safety Month and we think it’s the perfect time to enroll your child in swim lessons. Here’s a statistic we can get behind: the CDC estimates that the risk of drowning is decreased by nearly 90% when young children take swimming lessons. Naturally, grown-ups and teens can benefit from refresher courses, First Aid classes, CPR certification, or lifeguarding classes. Check out your local Parks & Recreation schedule or try a nearby YMCA or Red Cross.
Tip #2: Invest in Personal Flotation Devices and Life Saving Equipment
If you have a pool, you need personal flotation devices and life-saving equipment. We recommend that all non-swimmers wear a U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket or personal flotation device—even in the shallow end! We agree, those little donut-shaped swimmies and dinosaur floaties are super cute and noodles are tons of fun, but they’re not designed to prevent drowning.
Tip #3: Know the Signs of Drowning and Secondary Drowning
Contrary to every splashy Hollywood movie ever released, a person who is drowning probably won’t wave their hands in the air and cry desperately for help. They’ll be too busy trying to breathe to use that precious oxygen for shouting. More often than not, death by drowning is silent, so keep your eyes and your ears open.
Drowning Warning Signs
If your guest has gone silent and still in the water, check in and ask them to respond verbally. If the person is unable to respond, or their expression is blank, get them out of the water immediately!
Symptoms of Dry (or Secondary) Drowning
Dry drowning, or secondary drowning is also a very real danger. The American Osteopathic Association writes: “Dry and secondary drowning can occur after inhaling water through the nose or mouth. In cases of dry drowning, the water triggers a spasm in the airway, causing it to close up and impact breathing. Unlike dry drowning, delayed or secondary drowning occurs when swimmers have taken water into their lungs. The water builds up over time, eventually causing breathing difficulties.”
Tip # 4: Designate a “Lifeguard”
If you’re hosting a pool party, hiring a lifeguard may seem equal parts excessive and over-cautious, but it may be worth considering. First Aid and poolside CPR-certified lifeguards typically earn $10-15 an hour and are worth every penny in peace of mind. For smaller, family affairs, be sure to select a strong swimmer who is also CPR or First Aid certified as your designated watcher.
Tip #5: Invest in a First Aid Kit and an AED
There’s a reason why so many states have passed AED Legislation mandating the placement of AEDs in schools and sporting facilities. For a victim of Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA), an AED can be a lifesaver. AEDs are designed for use in a variety of adverse conditions.
If you need to use an AED on someone who has been swimming or has recently been pulled from the pool, remove any clothing and dry his or her chest as thoroughly as possible. Be sure there are no puddles around you, the patient, or the AED. Apply the pads and follow the device’s voice prompts. Every AED cautions responders and bystanders to stand clear of the patient.
Tip # 6: Pick a Swim Buddy!
Younger kids should have always have a swim buddy! Make sure your young swimmers can identify their swimming buddy and encourage clear communication. Even with the buddy system in place, never leave children unattended in the pool.
Tip # 7: Safety First!
You should check your local ordinances to make sure that your pool enclosure is in compliance with local regulations. Always securely lock your pool area when you’re not using it. And finally, make sure that you have access to a phone (preferably a water-resistant one) at all times in the case of an emergency.
Tip #8: Jump On In! (Feet-first, of Course!)
Diving headfirst into swimming pool can result in serious injury or death. Teach children how to jump into a pool feet-first and away from the pool’s concrete edge. Cannonballs are encouraged!