Leaping into swimming pools is one of the best escapes from scorching summer heat. While cooling off in pools is one of America’s greatest pastimes, if proper rules aren’t followed, it can be very dangerous. More than 200 young children drown on average in backyard swimming pools each year in the U.S. In fact child drowning is the leading cause of unintentional death for children under the age of 4, according to the USA Swimming Foundation.
Teach children how to swim
The best way to keep kids safe in the water is to teach them how to swim. Remember, children develop at different rates, so there is no precise age to begin swim lessons. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, children 4 years and older should begin swimming lessons. But if they’re ready, children as early as 1 to 4 years of age can learn to swim.
If a child is in the pool, an adult needs to be present
A good rule of thumb is to have an adult actively watch children at all times when they are in or near a pool. An adult should be in the water and within arm’s reach when babies and toddlers are in the water. When older children are in the pool, an adult should always pay close attention and be free from distractions like texting, socializing, housework, and alcohol.
Establish a list of pool rules, and follow them
If you have a pool, it’s important to establish a set of mandatory rules. Here are some examples:
- Keep toys away from the pool when it’s not in use
- Always empty blow-up pools after each use
- Never allow tricycles or riding toys poolside
- No electrical appliances near the pool
- Never dive in a pool that’s not deep enough
- Never dive into above-ground pools because they are usually not deep enough
- Never dive through inner tubes or other pool toys
- No running on the pool deck
- Don’t allow glassware near the pool
Build a pool fence
If you don’t have a pool fence, you should consider building one because it is one of the best ways to protect your child and other kids who visit or live nearby. Fences should be at least four feet high and have no footholds or handholds. Chain-link fences are not recommended because they are very easy to climb. Instead pool owners should use vertical slats that are no more than four inches apart. Be sure to have a gate that closes and latches by itself and only opens away from the pool. Latches should be higher than a child can reach (54 inches from the bottom of the gate).
Was your child injured in a pool incident? Get the representation you deserve
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