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Chrissie Cole
Chrissie Cole
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Pool Safety & Drowning Prevention

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There are an estimated 300 drowning deaths of young children under the age of five in swimming pools each year, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). That’s simply one too many children losing their lives to the water.

“Drowning is the leading cause of unintentional death for children between the ages of 1 and 4 and minority children drown in pools at an alarming rate,” said CPSC Chairman Inez Tenenbaum. “The lives of countless children can be saved this summer. Take simple safety steps today—teach all children to swim, put a fence around all pools, and always watch children in and around the water.”

Below are some tips about pool safety and drowning prevention.

These tragic accidents happen in less than five minutes. Every second counts, always check the spa or pool first. Precious time is wasted looking for missing children.

Parents and people in general are under the misconception that they will hear if a child falls into the water and is struggling to breathe. That is simply not true; the reality is that drowning is silent. Many times, children slip under the water silently and there is no splashing or screaming. Some people have reported hearing nothing even while being nearby during a drowning incident.

Pool Safety

First and foremost is adult supervision at all times – not even for just a few seconds – at all times. There are several other layers of protection that can be used to avoid drowning incidents from occurring.

There are barriers and covers, such as fences that completely surround the pool area that are available for both in-ground pools as well as above ground pools. These barriers prevent children from accessing the pool without supervision and are available right at your local Home Depot store.

Alarms on the doors leading to the pool area can help alert adults that children are trying to access the pool without supervision.

Parents should always have rescue equipment and a telephone nearby for emergency situations. And, parents should learn cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).

Children can learn to swim at a very young age. If you don’t feel like you can teach them to swim, seek swimming lessons at your local pool or YMCA as they are often available at affordable costs.

Other Water Safety Concerns

When considering water safety, aside from pools and spas, keep in mind that babies and young children can drown in small amounts of water including the bathtub and the toilet and even in buckets of water.

Never leave a baby in the bathtub or bathroom unattended. If you need to leave the room to answer the phone or check on dinner, take the baby with you. We cannot repeat enough times that it only takes minutes and small amount of water for a baby to drown.

If washing the car outside or using a bucket of water for any reason, always empty it after use and don’t leave it sitting outside where a young child can access it.

The CPSC as well as ChildSafetyNetwork has several more resources and videos for you to ensure your young ones are safe this summer and every other day near water. Don’t wait until it’s too late and you are faced with a tragic accident. These accidents can happen in a split second but with the proper measures in place they can be avoided.

To get a free copy of the Water Safety Tips pamphlet, email CPSC at publications@cpsc.gov or call our Hotline at (800) 638-2772.