Your swimming pool can provide endless fun and happy memories for your family members — including young children. To ensure that fun never turns to tragedy, take note of these eight critical pieces of pool safety information.
- In under five minutes, your child can drown. It can happen in an instant; you turn your back, and your 4-year-old slips outside and wades into the pool before you know it. Drowning happens very quietly, and you may have no idea until it’s too late.
- Drowning constitutes the second-leading cause of death — after car accidents — for children younger than 5. Children under the age of 4 have a higher risk of drowning than does any other age group.
- Your neighbor’s pool may pose a significant risk. Don’t assume that pools near your home have covers, alarms, adequate fencing and other safeguards in place. Approximately a third of child drownings happen at other people’s homes.
- But your home pool presents the most danger. Most drownings of children occur in their own family’s backyard pool. May through August sees the highest number of drownings and near-drowning accidents, and most fatalities happen in rural areas.
- Your child can drown in a kiddie pool. Just a few inches of water provide sufficient depth for a child to drown; more than 10 percent of pool-related fatalities among young children happen in children’s pools, including small wading pools and inflatable pools.
- You must have multiple safeguards in place. You need “layers of protection” to prevent drowning. Security should include alarms, fencing, rescue equipment and adequate supervision at all times.
- Chlorinated pools can cause health problems for young children. Pools pose dangers other than drowning for young kids. Children under age 5 who spend significant time in chlorinated pools have an increased risk of asthma and other respiratory symptoms.
- You cannot trust public pools. Pool drains that don’t meet safety standards pose terrifying risks for young children. Other dangers include excessively high or low levels of chemicals, inadequate supervision and broken or missing safety equipment.
To keep your 4-year-old safe around a swimming pool, make sure you have adequate security measures in place, including constant adult supervision.