Every year there are tragic stories of children drowning, whether it’s in a pool, jacuzzi, or a bathtub.
Drowning is the leading cause of death for children ages 1-4, and many of these drownings occur in backyard pools. In order to keep your kids safe around water, it is important to take some simple safety precautions.
The alarming fact is that it only takes a few inches of water for a child to drown, so it’s important to take precautions to ensure your backyard is safe for kids.
When the annual drowning and submersion report was released this year by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), it reported that fatal child drownings and nonfatal drowning injuries in children under age 15 remained elevated.
CPSC implores families to make water safety a priority, especially as children ages 5-14 attend community pools, summer camps, and above- and below-ground backyard pools.
According to CPSC, “Child drownings continue to be the leading cause of unintentional death among children ages 1 to 4 years old.”
CPSC’s latest data for the U.S. shows:
Across 2017 through 2019, there were an average of 389 pool- or spa-related fatal drownings reported per year involving children younger than 15 years of age.
Pool- or spa-related, hospital department-treated, nonfatal drowning injuries involving children younger than 15 years of age spiked 17 percent in 2021 with 6,800 injuries reported, compared to 2020 with 5,800.
Of the reported pool- or spa-related fatal child drownings, 73 percent involved children younger than five years of age.
“When you think of drowning prevention for babies and toddlers, you may think of horror stories of children drowning at pools, beaches or lakes. But according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, two-thirds of all drownings in infants happen in the bathtub,” according to Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta.
To make sure you’re taking all the proper water safety precautions, ensure that you’re doing the following things:
Supervising Your Children
Always supervise your own children and any other kids that are using your pool.
Be within arms reach of children at all times – no exceptions.
Don’t get distracted. This means being alert and not reading or scrolling through your phone.
Teaching Your Children To Swim
If you have the means, enroll your kids in swimming lessons as early as possible. Many community pools and YMCA clubs have swimming lessons for babies and toddlers. Learning to swim at an early age does not ensure they’ll be safe in the water, but it is vital that they know how to swim if they’re going to be around pools.
Another good way to practice good water safety is to run through the rules about being near or in a pool.
Stop Drowning Now says the Safer 3 Message is a simple way to educate people simply, quickly and easily with these three components; Safer Water, Safer Kids and Safer Response.
Safer Water means identifying the risks. This can be any body of water (bathtubs, pools, spas, lakes, rivers or oceans) whether you are swimming in it or not. This element includes learning how to reduce those risks. For example, installing barriers such as isolated fencing around a backyard pool would reduce the risk of unauthorized access to the pool by young children.
Safer Kids covers the behaviors necessary for both kids and parents to prevent drowning. No one is ever “drown-proof.” That is a dangerous misconception. The Safer Kids water safety tips include constant responsible supervision by adults, along with swimming skills attained through ongoing qualified instruction for kids.
Safer Response is about how to respond in an emergency if a drowning indeed happens. Safer Response covers emergency response techniques and emergency action plans as well as what *not* to do, preventing a drowning event from becoming a double drowning. Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and first aid are essential skills for parents, as well as having a phone available at all times.
Following these guidelines is helpful to ensure a safer pool environment for everyone, but especially for children.
You should also invest in water safety equipment if you own a pool or spa in your backyard – we’ve listed the top-rated products below.
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