How to prevent drownings

By Mike Wright May 1, 2012


In honor of National Water Safety Month, we will be featuring weekly water safety articles that provide insight into important information regarding swimming pool safety.

Do you own a swimming pool or hot tub? If not, do any of your friends, family or neighbors own one? Do you have access to an apartment or condominium pool? And lastly, do you have children? If you answered yes to any of these questions, please take a moment to read this brief article.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there were 3,443 fatal and unintentional drownings (non-boating related) in the United States in 2007. This averages out to ten deaths per day. More than one in five people who die from drowning are children 14 and younger.

For every child who dies from drowning, another four receive emergency department care for nonfatal submersion injuries. Children ages 1 to 4 years most likely drown in residential pools. There are safety precautions that can be taken to reduce these statistics. Including as many of these safety tips as possible is the greatest way to guarantee the safest experience possible at any swimming pool or spa.

Home Pool Safety Tips:

  • Adult supervision is critical. Always watch your children when they are in or near a pool or spa. Never leave a child unsupervised who may be able to gain access to a swimming pool or spa.
  • Learn to swim and make sure your children are taught how to swim as well. Contact your local Red Cross to schedule swimming lessons.
  • Educate your children about basic water safety tips and teach them that they are never to go near the water without an adult.
  • A four-foot or taller fence must enclose the entire pool and it must have a self-closing, self-latching gate. All the doors or gates leading to the pool should have secure locks and alarms. This includes the house if it serves as part of the barrier the pool and any windows.
  • Learn how to perform CPR and first aid. Contact your local Red Cross about taking a CPR and first aid class.
  • A fully-charged phone should be kept pool side with all emergency phone numbers posted.
  • Have appropriate equipment accessible, such as, a reaching pole, a flotation device, life jackets and a first aid kit.
  • The water should be kept clean and clear.
  • Furniture or toys are to be kept away from a fence that would enable a child to climb over.
  • If a child is missing, look in the pool or spa first.

May is National Water Safety Month. Help join the fight to save our children from unintentional drowning and follow ALL the home pool safety tips provided. Remember to contact your local Red Cross (1-800-RED-CROSS) for further information on enrolling in swimming lessons, CPR, or first aid class.