Hitting the pool can be a great way to escape the sweltering Texas heat during the summer. Unfortunately, it can also pose serious health threats – especially to children. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), drowning is currently the fifth leading cause of unintentional death in the U.S. Children ages one to four have the highest drowning rates, with most incidents occurring in home swimming pools. With the right safety practices, you can enjoy safe poolside afternoons with peace of mind this summer. The swimming pool accident attorneys at the Law Office of Stephen W. Shoultz have offer the following tips for a safe pool season:
Sign Up for Swimming Lessons
The sooner your child learns to swim, the sooner he or she will reduce the risk of accidental drowning. Having some knowledge of how to swim, or at least how to float, can help a young child avoid dangerous situations. Sign your child up for professional swimming lessons at an early age to get them pool-ready. Professional lessons can teach kids how to swim as well as general pool safety tips, such as how to reach a pool’s edge. These skills can significantly reduce incidents of drowning.
Practice Constant Swimmer Supervision
Never leave children unattended or unsupervised at a pool. Do not rely on water wings, floats, or older children to prevent drowning. Only an attentive adult should be in charge of watching kids while swimming. If you want to take a break or close your eyes for a moment, ask another responsible adult to take over your shift. It only takes a few minutes for a child to drown. Don’t assume nothing will happen while you walk inside to grab a snack. Bring the children with you or wait for another adult to take your place.
Enlist Help During Pool Parties
Pool parties can involve too many children for just one adult to safely supervise. If the supervisor loses track of one of the kids, he or she might not notice the child’s head is underwater until it’s too late. If you host a pool party, make sure other adults and parents are present to help you keep an eye on swimmers. A few people should be actively watching the kids at all times during the party. Never drink alcohol while on duty supervising child swimmers at a pool party. Even if the pool has an official lifeguard, keep an eye on the children yourself, as well.
Take a CPR Class
As a parent or guardian, it’s smart to take a basic first aid and CPR class. In the event of accidental drowning, prompt CPR can significantly improve the drowning person’s outcomes and chance of survival. Performing CPR while waiting for emergency personnel to arrive can save your child’s life. Swift action can also reduce the chances of brain damage or coma from lack of oxygen to the brain during a drowning event.
Keep Your Pool Safe From Unexpected Visitors
If you have a swimming pool on your property, it’s your responsibility and legal obligation to make it safe when not in use. A swimming pool is an attractive nuisance, or a dangerous property condition that can attract children. You owe duties of care to children in your neighborhood that may sneak onto your property and fall into the pool. You must keep your pool covered and locked or install a security fence around the pool. Consider installing a motion-sensor alarm to alert you if something enters the pool. Your pool should be inaccessible to trespassing children.
Use the Right Flotation Devices
Flotation devices do not ensure a child’s safety. In fact, devices like inner tubes can actually result in drowning, as it can trap a child upside down. Water wings can prevent children from using their arms in the correct swimming motions. These are toys, not safety devices. Size-appropriate life jackets are typically the safest flotation devices for swimming pools. An adult should still supervise swimmers, even with safety devices. Enjoy your pool without fear this summer – follow these tips before your family hits the water!