A favorite summertime family activity is spending time by the pool, but for children 5 and under, drowning is still a leading cause of accidental death, according to the CDC. Here are a few guidelines to follow to reduce your family’s risk around the pool.
- Secure the perimeter of the pool. Make sure your fence is secure and that your gates are latched. If you have an above-ground pool, make sure that the steps up to the pool are locked up.
- Swimming lessons. Studies have shown that children who take formal swimming lessons have a reduced chance of drowning. Make sure that everyone in your family (including the adults) knows how to swim, and if not, enroll them in swimming lessons.
- Supervise the kids. Every parent has said that things happen in a split-second, so when you are at a pool, make sure there is a designated adult to keep a close eye out for the kids. And don’t discount the baby pools; a child can drown in less than 6 inches of water.
- Wear properly sized life vests. This is so important for young children around any pool; if a life vest is too large, the child will slip out.
- Establish and reinforce rules for safe behavior. Important rules suggested by the Red Cross include “no diving,” “stay away from drain covers,” “swim with a buddy,” and “walk please.”
Visit the Red Cross’s website for more pool safety guidelines like these.