May is Drowning Awareness Month!
Keep Children Safe Around Water All Year Long with These Safety Precautions
Many consider May to be the beginning of summer, a symbol of backyard pool parties, barbecues and sun bathing. Unfortunately, with all the fun comes some cause for concern, as May is also known for increased drowning tragedies across the U.S. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), drowning is the leading cause of unintentional death for children ages 1-4, and 10 drowning deaths occur each day in our country. The majority of those drownings occur in backyard swimming pools. These terrifying occurrences can be prevented with extra precaution and protection. Here are water safety tips courtesy of the National Drowning Prevention Alliance:
- Educate children and adults about water safety.
- Never leave a child unattended near water in a pool, tub, bucket or ocean. There is no substitute for adult supervision.
- Swim near a lifeguard whenever possible and only swim in designated swimming areas.
- Designate a “Water Watcher” to maintain constant watch over children in the pool during gatherings.
- The home should be isolated from the pool with a fence at least 60” tall, with a self-closing, self-latching gate. The gate should open away from the pool, and should never be propped open.
- Doors and windows should be alarmed to alert adults when opened. Doors should be self-closing and self-latching.
- Power-operated pool safety covers are the most convenient and efficient. Solar/floating pool covers are not safety devices.
- Keep a phone at poolside so that you never have to leave the pool to answer the phone, and can call for help if needed.
- Learn CPR and rescue breathing.
- Keep a life-saving ring, shepherd’s hook and CPR instructions mounted at poolside.
- Only use proper and approved floatation devices. Do not confuse proper and approved floatation devices with toys.
- Do not use flotation devices as a substitute for supervision.
- Never leave water in buckets or wading pools.
- If a child is missing, always check the pool first. Seconds count!
- Remove toys from in and around the pool when not in use.
- Don’t use floating chlorine dispensers that look like toys.
- Instruct babysitters about potential pool hazards, and emphasize the need for constant supervision.
- Responsibilities of pool ownership include ensuring children in the home learn to swim, and that adults know CPR.
- Do not consider children “drownproof” because they’ve had swimming lessons.
Ensure that your backyard is a place of joy, and keep your family and children safe! For more information on Drowning Awareness Month, visit the National Drowning Prevention Alliance at www.ndpa.org.