Water safety awareness is something everyone should be concerned about all year long. It takes only inches of water for a small child to drown so taking extra safety steps at home and around pools, spas and all bodies of water can prevent drowning incidents. Some facts about young children and drowning:
- U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission’s (CPSC) latest submersion report (May 2011) shows that on average 383 children younger than 15 drown in pools and spas each year (2006-2008) and 76% of these fatalities are under five.
- Another 5,100 are treated in hospital emergency departments for submersions. Those between 12 to 35 months represented 47% of estimated injuries for these years.
- The majority of deaths and injuries involve children ages 1-2 and occur in residential settings
- Drowning is the leading cause of unintentional death to children ages 1-4
- Drownings occur when there is a short lapse in adult supervision and access to the pool is easy
- Little children drown quickly and silently
Pool Safely – Simple Steps Save Lives CPSC’s Pool Safely: Simple Steps Save Lives is a national public education effort to reduce child drowning, near-drownings and entrapments in swimming pools and spas. The Pool Safely campaign is a call-to-action for consumers and industry to adopt additional proven water safety steps and join a national conversation about pool and spa safety by sharing best practices and other life-saving information. The proven water safety steps can be organized into three categories: Behavioral – actions that relate to personal responsibility and action Knowledge-based – actions that relate to skills such as swimming, CPR and related water safety activities Equipment – actions that relate to barriers such as fences and safety equipment such as compliant drain covers The following list outlines the water safety steps that you can and should take to help keep your family safe. Behavioral – Stay close, be alert, and watch children in and around the pool
- Never leave a child unattended in a pool or spa and always watch your child when they are in or near a pool or spa
- Teach children basic water safety tips
- Avoid entrapment by keeping children away from pool drains, pipes and other openings
- Have a phone close by at all times when you or your family are using a pool or spa
- If a child is missing, look for them in the pool or spa first
- Share safety instructions with family, friends and neighbors
Knowledge-based – Learn and practice water safety skills
- Learn how to swim.
- Learn to perform CPR on children and adults; update those skills regularly.
- Understand the basics of life-saving so that you can assist in a pool emergency.
Equipment – Have the appropriate equipment
- Install a four-foot fence around the perimeter of the pool and spa and use self-closing and self-latching gates. Ask your neighbors and community groups to do the same at all residential pools.
- If your house serves as the fourth side of a fence around a pool, install a pool alarm and use all the time.
- Ensure any pool and spa you use has compliant drain covers; ask if you do not know.
- Maintain pool and spa covers in good working order.
- Have life saving equipment such as life rings or floats available for easy use.
The greatest water safety assurance in swimming pools and spas comes from adopting and practicing as many water safety steps as possible. Adding that extra safety step in and around the water can make all the difference. You can never know which safety measure will save a life – until it does. http://youtu.be/-XrIaKFz0lo For more information about the Pool Safely campaign, visit PoolSafely.gov, follow the campaign on Twitter (@PoolSafely) and visit Pool Safely’s YouTube channel.