Drowning is the leading preventable cause of death and injury for children under age five, and the risks increase in the summer. Even so, according to the National Safe Kids Campaign, more than half of all parents say they don’t worry much about their child drowning.
The risk of childhood pool drowning isn’t limited to in-ground pools. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) estimates that about a quarter of all child drowning deaths happen in aboveground or portable pools. This is why some cities have instituted ordinances that require fences around any pool above or in ground that has a depth of over 1 foot of water.
Here is the Water Safety Checklist of simple tips compiled by the CPSC’s Pool Safely Campaign Website:
Never leave a child unattended in a pool or spa.
Always watch children when they are in or near a pool or spa.
Teach children basic water safety tips.
Keep children away from pool drains, pipes and other openings to avoid entrapments.
Have a portable telephone close by at all times when you or your family are using a pool or spa.
If a child is missing, look for him or her in the pool or spa first.
Share safety instructions with family, friends and neighbors.
Learn how to swim and teach your child how to swim.
Learn to perform CPR on children and adults, and update those skills regularly.
Understand the basics of life-saving so that you can assist in a pool emergency.
Install a four-foot or taller fence around the pool and spa and use self-closing and self-latching gates; ask your neighbors to do the same at their pools.
Install and use a lockable safety cover on your spa.
If your house serves as a fourth side of a fence around a pool, install door alarms and always use them. For additional protection, install window guards on windows facing pools or spas.
Install pool and gate alarms to alert you when children go near the water.
Ensure any pool and spa you use has compliant drain covers, and ask your pool service provider if you do not know.
Maintain pool and spa covers in good working order.
Consider using a surface wave or underwater alarm.
If you’ll be visiting public pools or spas this summer, the CPSC suggests you check to be sure that the places you’ll be going are practicing appropriate water safety. By asking the following questions when you and your family visit a public pool or spa and remaining vigilant in the Water Safety Checklist above when your child is in or near the water, you can help ensure your child’s pool safety.
Are there fences that limit access to the pool and spa?
Has the pool or spa been inspected to ensure it is compliant with federal and local laws and regulations?
Are the new safety drain covers being used in compliance with the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool & Spa Safety Act?
Do pool and spa pumps appear to be running?
Is there life-saving equipment such as life rings and reaching poles available for use?
Is there a lifeguard at the pool or spa to watch children and adults?
Are there water safety rules posted in a visible area for adults and children to review?
Is there sufficient staff to monitor the pool or spa when it’s in heavy use?
Is there a charged phone close by at all times?
Is the staff trained and certified in first aid and emergency response?
Do you know how to perform CPR on children and adults? Are those skills updated regularly?