June is the start of summer and that means families are headed to the pool. But all pools, everything from small backyard inflatables to commercial water parks, are dangerous and tempting to young kids. There are about 300 pool and spa related fatalities per year for children younger than five years of age. To protect your loved ones from drowning, the Consumer Product Safety Commission says keep following in mind:
• Have Layers of Protection: Barriers, such as a fence with self-closing, self-latching gates, completely surrounding pools prevent unsupervised access by young children. If the house forms a side of the barrier, use alarms on doors leading to the pool area and/or a power safety cover over the pool.
• Beware of Entrapments: Suction drains in pools and spas can cause entrapments involving hair, body parts, clothing and jewelry, which can lead to death and serious injury. The suction can be so powerful that it can hold an adult under water, but most entrapment incidents involve children. Do not allow children to play in a pool or hot tub/spa with missing or broken drain covers.
• Look in the Pool First: Precious time is often wasted looking for missing children anywhere but in the pool. Since every second counts, always look for a missing child in the pool or spa first. Be prepared for an emergency by having rescue equipment and a phone near the pool. Also, parents should learn cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).
• Drowning is Silent: Parents may think that if their child falls in the water, they will hear lots of splashing and screaming, and that they will be able to come to the rescue. Many times, however, children slip under the water silently. Even people in the pool have reported hearing nothing out of the ordinary during drowning incidents.
• Never leave a child unattended – even for a minute – with access to a pool, spa, bathtub or bucket. If you have to leave, designate a “Water Watcher,” someone who can concentrate on kids in the water without distraction.
All of this is very good advice for parents and other adults who care for children. Let’s all strive to make this summer the safest ever for children!