Summer Pool and Swimming Safety
Children will no doubt be crowding pools, lakes, and beaches the coming summer months. Parents should be vigilant whenever their kids are near or in the water. It’s also important to discuss potential dangers with your children before they enter the water. Refresh yourself on basic water safety tips with the A, B, C, D’s of drowning prevention.
Pool Drowning Research & Statistics
The US Consumer Product Safety Commission conducted research in Arizona, California, and Florida – states where many homeowners also have access to pools. Here are some statistics they found:
- 75% of submersion victims studied were between 1 and 3 years old. 65% of this group were boys.
- Toddlers are especially known for doing something unexpected because their capabilities change daily. See Toddler Water safety for more advice on how to keep your toddler safe.
- At the time of the incidents, many victims were being supervised by one or both parents. 46% were seen in their homes, 23% were seen in their yard/porch/patio, and 31% were in or around the pool by the time of the accident.
- In line with the stat above, 69% of victims from this study were not expected to be in the pool, yet they were found in the water.
- Submersion accidents involving kids usually happen in familiar surroundings. 65% of incidents happened in a pool owned by the child’s family. 33% of incidents happened in a pool owned by friends or relatives.
- Drownings can occur very quickly. 77% of victims had been missing from sight for 5 minutes or less.
Preventing Pool Drownings This Summer & Beyond
- Adult Supervision – With such large crowds during the summer, remember to designate a water watcher. This responsible adult should refrain from texting, chatting, or any other activity so that their full attention is given to the kids in or near the water.
- Ensure Proper Pool Drain Standards – If your children are in someone else’s pool or spa, ensure that there are anti-entrapment drain covers on all known drains. It’s always best practice to check with the pool or spa owner and ask about the drain covers and if they meet requirements laid out by the Virginia Graeme Baker Act. See our Pool Drain Checklist for a reference on what to look for.
- Use Fences, Alarms, and Gates as Barriers of Protection – There is always the possibility of children wandering outside unattended. Install safety fences, alarms, and gates around the entire length of your outdoor pool, and remember to routinely check them for proper functioning. These safety features help to protect young children from entering the water and therefore, possible drowning risks.
- Learn CPR: Implemented correctly, cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) is the most effective strategy to improve outcomes of drowning. Get your CPR certification and be ready to help in the event of a drowning.
- Loop in your teen/babysitter to help supervise: Mature teens and babysitters can also serve as additional eyes to keep younger children safe in water. If you have an eligible teen, encourage them to help end the lifeguard shortage by becoming a lifeguard.
Fun summer water activities such as pool parties, fishing, and boating are what your kids look forward to. So, remember to go the extra mile, take the necessary precautions, and help make sure they can enjoy these activities safely!