Summertime Swimming Safety

In some states such as California, Florida and Arizona, drowning is the leading cause of accidental death to children under five. CPSC offers the following tips for pool owners:

  • Never leave a child unsupervised near a pool.
  • Instruct babysitters about potential hazards to young children in and around swimming pools and the need for constant supervision.
  • Completely fence the pool. Install self-closing and self-latching gates. Position latches out of reach of young children. Keep all doors and windows leading to the pool area secure to prevent small children from getting to the pool. Effective barriers and locks are necessary preventive measures, but there is no substitute for supervision.
  • Do not consider young children “drown proof” because they have had swimming lessons; young children should always be watched carefully while swimming.
  • Do not use flotation devices as a substitute for supervision.
  • Never use a pool with its pool cover partially in place, since children may become entrapped under it. Remove the cover completely.
  • Place tables and chairs well away from the pool fence to prevent children from climbing into the pool area.
  • Keep toys away from the pool area because a young child playing with the toys could accidentally fall in the water.
  • Remove steps to above ground pools when not in use.
  • Have a telephone at poolside to avoid having to leave children unattended in or near the pool to answer a telephone elsewhere. Keep emergency numbers at the poolside telephone.
  • LearnCPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation).
  • Keep rescue equipment by the pool.

Diving injuries can result in quadriplegia, paralysis below the neck, to divers who hit the bottom or side of a swimming pool, according to CPSC. Divers should observe the following precautions:

  • Never dive into above-ground pools. They are too shallow.
  • Don’t dive from the side of an in-ground pool. Enter the water feet first.
  • Dive only from the end of the diving board and not from the sides.
  • Dive with your hands in front of you and always steer up immediately upon entering the water to avoid hitting the bottom or sides of the pool.
  • Don’t dive if you have been using alcohol or drugs because your reaction time may be too slow.
  • Improper use of pool slides presents the same danger as improper diving techniques. Never slide down head first-slide down feet first only.

Additionally, Make sure your kids use good hygiene so they don’t spread germs. Encourage them to wash hands and be clean before entering the pool and be sure the little ones who aren’t potty trained wear disposable diapers made for swimming to be sure not to spread illness. Don’t let them in the pool if they have diarrhea which can make others sick or open wounds that can get infected. Chlorine doesn’t keep us safe from germs and is hard on skin, which means your kids can get sick with eye, ear, respiratory, skin or digestive illnesses from the water just by being in it. Be sure they know not to swallow the water or even get it in their mouths for the same reasons. Be sure to have them rinse off after swimming to protect their skin and reapply sunscreen before going back out in the sun. If your kids are prone to ear infections be sure to clean their ears as recommended by their pediatrician after swimming and use swimmer’s ear prevention drops as recommended.

Do you need to have your kids wait 30 minutes before swimming? No, though foods that are higher in fat rather than carbohydrates are harder to digest, causing the body to use more energy which may make children less energetic. This can be dangerous if they are not properly supervised or cannot get out on their own.

Boating Safety…

Always wear a US Coast Guard approved life jacket when on a lake, river or ocean while boating, water skiing, jet skiing or tubing and warn your children about playing in canals or other fast moving water. Don’t allow your kids play behind the exhaust of boats and motor homes because the toxic fumes can lead to death very quickly.