It is important to review pool safety tips for drowning prevention. Drowning is the number one cause of accidental deaths in young children. According to the CDC, “from 2005-2014, there were an average of 3,536 fatal unintentional drownings (non-boating related) annually in the United States — about ten deaths per day. About one in five people who die from drowning are children 14 and younger.”
The majority of drowning deaths result from a child falling or wandering into the water, particularly into a backyard pool. But don’t forget, a young child can drown in an inch of water. For many additional resources, go to http://www.poolsafely.gov/parents/safety-tips/. Please take a few minutes and read over the tips. If you have a platform such as a pastor, teacher, Sunday School teacher, or health provider, I hope that you will take a few minutes of your time and share with your population. The reminder may save a child’s life.
Compiled List for printing. Pool Safety for Young Children
- Don’t leave your child unattended around water. (Young children can drown in as little as one inch of water.) Supervision is not an occasional glance. It is not watching your kids playing outside while you’re inside.
- Supervision is keeping eye contact with your child within touching distance.
- You should put away cell phones, books, laptops, magazines, and discontinue conversations with friends. Young children need 100 percent of your attention when they are near or around water.
- Don’t depend on life guards at community pools.
- Don’t depend on a teenager to keep their eyes on your child.
Things to do
- Pools should have fencing around all four sides – not counting the house as a side – with self-closing or self-latching doors that are too high for children to reach. Drowning accidents happen when parents assume, “I thought the gate was closed,” or, “I didn’t know she could open the door.”
- Put alarms on your pool so that you will be alerted if a child falls in the water.
- Follow ALL safety precautions after your young children are grown. Other young children may be visiting your home or neighborhood.
- Have conversations with children about water safety.
- You may want to read Barkley’s Great Escape or another book that will help you start a serious conversation about water safety.
Other Things to Think About
- If a child is missing in the house, check the pool first.
- Select swim suits that are bright colors and can been seen easily under water such as orange and red.
- When visiting someone with a backyard swimming pool, keep eye contact on your child at all times during the visit. The child may be a few easy steps to danger.
- Be vigilant about emptying all containers of water, tubs, buckets, wading pools. Keep them upside down and out of children’s reach.
Other Areas of Water
- Close and secure bathroom doors due to the water from the toilets.
- Empty mop buckets.
- Young children have not grown into their bodies. Their heads are heavy and it is easy for them to topple over.
- Learn CPR and First Aid. Practice the skills often.
- Teach children to ALWAYS ask for permission to go near the water. You can have a ritual that you teach your child with a list of things that must happen before getting into the water. (This may sound like a waste of time, but a child may be driven to follow the routine or ritual).
- Get a towel
- Put on sunblock
- Let mommy or daddy know that you are getting in the water
- Develop family rules such as no running; do not play near drains, etc.
- Remove all pool toys out of sight of young children. (A floating toy might be tempting for a young child).
In An Emergency
- Have a portable phone nearby to call for emergency help.
- Have a first aid kit, life jacket, and throwing equipment nearby Keep a safety ring with a rope beside the pool at all times.
- Know how to respond to an emergency. For example, be able to give exact directions. Have someone out by the road to alert emergency personnel.
I hope the pool safety tips for young children is beneficial to your organization or to you personally.
Wanda Wyont, MA
Wanda has worked in the field of education over twenty-five years in many diverse backgrounds. Her teaching experiences range from preschool to college age. She holds an MA in Birth-Kindergarten and has presented multiple workshops at national venues. She has written and published numerous articles and papers on children’s issues. As an experienced storyteller, Wanda encourages children to become good readers and writers. Barkley’s Great Escape is her second children’s book.