Many people enjoy cooling off in swimming pools during the summer, but the risk of drowning should not be ignored. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 10 people drown every day in the U.S., and 20 percent of those are children age 14 and under.
What Influences Drowning Risk?
The main factors that affect the risk of drowning, especially among young children, include:
- Lack of basic swimming skills
- Absence of barriers, such as fencing, that help prevent young children from gaining access to a pool without supervision
- Failure to wear a life jacket
- Alcohol, which is involved in nearly 70 percent of the deaths associated with drowning
Swimming Pool Safety
There are many ways you and your family can safely enjoy time at the swimming pool and avoid pool-related injuries:
- Never leave children around water unsupervised, even if they know how to swim and there are others present.
- Take CPR training, and make sure that anyone who takes your children to the pool is trained as well.
- Enclose your pool on all sides with a four foot (or taller) fence that is self-locking, self-closing, and is constructed with vertical bars with gaps that are no more than four inches wide.
- Don’t leave furniture near the fence – children might use it to climb over into the pool area.
- Keep a pole, rope, and personal flotation devices near the pool to help a struggling swimmer.
- Keep toys away from the pool when they’re not in use – they tend to attract children to the water.
If a child goes missing, check the pool first – every second counts. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, 300 children younger than five drown each year, and most of them were absent just five minutes or less when they were found.