Pool Safety Tips
Never leave a child unattended near water in a pool, tub, bucket or ocean. There is no substitute for adult supervision.
Designate a "Water Watcher" to maintain constant watch over children in the pool during gatherings.
The home should be isolated from the pool with a fence at least 60" tall, with a self-closing, self-latching gate. The gate should open away from the pool, and should never be propped open.
Doors and windows should be alarmed to alert adults when opened. Doors should be self-closing and self-latching.
Power-operated pool safety covers are the most convenient and efficient. Solar/floating pool covers are not safety devices.
Keep a phone at poolside so that you never have to leave the pool to answer the phone, and can call for help if needed.
Learn CPR and rescue breathing.
Keep a life-saving ring, shepherd's hook and CPR instructions mounted at poolside.
Do not use flotation devices as a substitute for supervision.
Never leave water in buckets or wading pools.
If a child is missing, always check the pool first. Seconds count.
Remove toys from in and around the pool when not in use.
Don't use floating chlorine dispensers that look like toys.
Instruct babysitters about potential pool hazards, and emphasize the need for constant supervision.
Responsibilities of pool ownership include ensuring children in the home learn to swim, and that adults know CPR.
Do not consider children "drownproof" because they've had swimming lessons.
Get Ready for National Water Safety Month
By Cailley Hammel, Aqua Magazine
It's almost May, and pool openings taking place across the nation, there's no better time to celebrate National Water Safety Month.
To recognize the event, the Association of Pool & Spa Professionals, the National Recreation & Park Association, the American Red Cross and the World Waterpark Association are coming together to reinforce the importance of safe swimming with educational programs, public service announcements, governmental proclamations, dealer and business promotions and the distribution of water-safety-themed materials.
The National Drowning Prevention Alliance, the National Swimming Pool Foundation, the USA Swimming Foundation and the International Code Council have also pledged to encourage members to get involved in water safety activities and programs throughout May.
If you visit the official website for National Water Safety Month, you'll find tip sheets, swimming rules, videos and posters. The event also has a dedicated Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Flickr pages that will be updated with valuable information to share.
"The safe use of swimming pools, hot tubs and other recreational water facilities is a priority for everyone," says APSP President and CEO Bill Weber. "National Water Safety Month serves to focus on the importance of water safety in all types of swimming environments."
If you're looking for additional resources, the Consumer Product Safety Commission's "Simple Steps Save Lives" program offers a variety of materials to consumers and organizations, all of which help to raise awareness for proper drain cover use, safe swimming, adult supervision and swimming lessons.
National Water Safety Month takes place during the entire month of May. Click here to visit the official website and see how you can participate.
Bobber the Water Safety Dog (and friends)
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has spent $51,500 of stimulus money on nine mascot costumes and robots, including Bobber the Water Safety Dog, Coastie the Water Safety Education Seaboat and Seamoor the Sea Serpent Robot.
They'll be used in parks in Kentucky, Ohio, Indiana and Utah to teach children about safe boating and swimming.
It seems a little strange, but the project manager at one location that got a Bobber costume says the mascot has been a wild success.
"Those children love Bobber," said George Williams, Army Corps of Engineers project manager at Green River Lake, near Campbellsville, Ky. "If we teach and mentor these children about water safety, they're going to carry that into adulthood, and we're going to reduce the number of drownings and fatalities."
Williams said there have been 36 drownings at the site since 1969, so the park was very pleased to get Recovery Act funding for the Bobber costume. Park rangers will often dress up as Bobber and put on skits for the 23,000 school-age children that come to the lake each year.
Pool Safety Tips
- Never leave a child unattended near water in a pool, tub, bucket or ocean. There is no substitute for adult supervision.
- Designate a "Water Watcher" to maintain constant watch over children in the pool during gatherings.
- The home should be isolated from the pool with a fence at least 60" tall, with a self-closing, self-latching gate. The gate should open away from the pool, and should never be propped open.
- Doors and windows should be alarmed to alert adults when opened. Doors should be self-closing and self-latching.
- Power-operated pool safety covers are the most convenient and efficient. Solar/floating pool covers are not safety devices.
- Keep a phone at poolside so that you never have to leave the pool to answer the phone, and can call for help if needed.
- Learn CPR and rescue breathing.
- Keep a life-saving ring, shepherd's hook and CPR instructions mounted at poolside.
- Do not use flotation devices as a substitute for supervision.
- Never leave water in buckets or wading pools.
- If a child is missing, always check the pool first. Seconds count.
- Remove toys from in and around the pool when not in use.
- Don't use floating chlorine dispensers that look like toys.
- Instruct babysitters about potential pool hazards, and emphasize the need for constant supervision.
- Responsibilities of pool ownership include ensuring children in the home learn to swim, and that adults know CPR.
- Do not consider children "drownproof" because they've had swimming lessons.
6 Water Safety Activities Every Family Must Know (Pool Safety)
from Cheerios and Lattes
Swimming pools, ponds, lakes, neighborhood pools, water parks, rivers, streams, hot tubs, hotel pools, the ocean, inflatable water slides, etc. Chances are, even if you don't have a swimming pool in your backyard your children will encounter water this Summer. 'Pool Safety' doesn't necessarily sound like the most exciting of subjects in teaching your child to swim, yet ironically it is the MOST IMPORTANT subject! Pool Safety encompasses the heart of the Teach Your Child to Swim- Summer Series. It is also most likely the reason why you are choosing to read this series; you want your children to be safe around water!
Establishing Pool Procedures & Routines
Most families have procedures and routines as a part of their daily lives, even those who would refer to themselves as "unscheduled." For example, your children wash their hands before they eat, you brush your teeth multiples times a day, you put your shoes on before going outside, you eat dinner before you go to bed, etc These are procedures and routines. They often get tagged with a negative conotation and are associated with a "bunch of rules," but most of the time they are simply just "the way things are done."
It is a the responsibility of parents to develop and establish procedures and routines for their homes. For families with a pool at home, it is VITAL that you sit down, first as a parent(s), and then together with your children, to develop and establish your home pool procedures and routines.
For Families with Pools (in-ground, above ground, spa, plastic pools, inflatable pools, etc.):
1. Parents need to sit down and write out a list of expectations: procedures for how your family will handle your pool, and what your pool routine will look like. Remember that even if you do not have a large pool, a small plastic or inflatable pool can be just as dangerous. All types of pools require procedures and routines to ensure the safety of all children.
Everyone goes to the bathroom before putting on swimsuits (important for families with young children)
Children should not go outside or close to the water area without a parent. Establish an area they are to sit while they are waiting
When sunscreen gets applied and reapplied
Where parents will watch the children swimming so they can see the entire pool: the bottom, corners, and top surface
What will the children do when someone needs to go to the bathroom, the phone rings, the doorbell rings, someone gets hurt, etc.
How the pool equipment is to be handled. What equipment is only for adults, and what is allowed to be used by children and visiting friends
Consequences for not following the established pool rules and procedures
Signals (whistle blown, a shout, a clapping sound, music is turned off) that will be used to get the attention of the swimmers to stop, look, and listen to directions
How often will swimmers be expected to take breaks? How long will they last? (A 5 minute break every 30 minutes for younger kids or 10 minutes every hour for older kids is recommended.)
2. Write up, and practice your family's pool procedures and routines. Remember it is the parents responsibility to ESTABLISH these routines not just develop them; being consistent and disciplined in their establishment will ensure the safety and enjoyment of your pool. It will also make your responsibility as a parent easier and less stressful!
It is recommended that during the swimming season, you have your family's 'Water Procedures' posted in a place where everyone will see them, and can review them before entering the water. Place them at the childrens eye level. Even if they cannot read, the visual will be a reminder to them. It is important to verbally remind young children of the rules each time they go for a swim.
When Visiting a Community Pool (neighborhood pool, a friend's home pool, a water park, etc.)
1. Parents need to sit down and write down/discuss what their expectations are for their children when visiting a community pool.
Everyone goes to the bathroom before putting on their swimsuits (important for families with young children)
Children do not to go close to the water area without a parent. Establish an area they are to sit while they are waiting.
The rules of the particular pool you are visiting; read the signs to your children.
Walking, not running
When sunscreen gets applied and reapplied
Where parents will 'set-up' and leave their supplies.
What the children do when someone needs to go to the bathroom, someone gets hurt, etc.
What pool toys are allowed in the pool and how you expect them to behave with those particular toys
Consequences for not following the established pool rules and procedures.
Signals (whistle blown, a shout, a clapping sound, music is turned off) that will be used to get the attention of the swimmers to stop, look, and listen to directions.
How often will swimmers be expected to take breaks? How long will they last? (A 5 minute break every 30 minutes for younger kids or 10 minutes every hour for older kids is recommended.)
2. Discuss and practice your family's pool procedures and routines. Remember it is the parents responsibility to ESTABLISH these routines not just develop them; being consistent and disciplined in their establishment will ensure the safety and enjoyment of your pool visit. It will also make your responsibility as a parent easier and less stressful!
3 Safety Activities to Teach Children
1. What is a Water Emergency? (When to Call for Help)
Children (young children in particular) seem to think every problem is an emergency. It is important to teach children the difference between a problem, and an emergency. Our family defines a problem as something you need help to fix that is not harmful or hurting to you. We define an emergency as a problem that needs help RIGHT NOW. You YELL "HELP!" for an emergency, and you ASK "Can you help me please?" for a problem. A problem is something you can ask and does not require yelling. A great book/story to share with your child is The Boy Who Cried Wolf, to teach them the reasoning behind not yelling for every problem they encounter. (We are still daily working on this with our oldest son, both in and out of the pool, by no means do we have this perfected! We are a work in progress.)
2. Pushing off the Bottom of the Pool (Bobbing Up and Down)
Chrissy (the co-author of this series) shares that when asked what most near-drowning victims remember most about their drowning experience is "being at the bottom of the pool." They experience a sense of helplessness, and for this reason, it is very important for everyone (especially children) to be empowered in swimming safety by routinely practicing the simple act of pushing off the bottom of the pool. For those who are "swimmers" the importance of this is usually overlooked, however, this activity could save your child's life in deep water!
I recommend doing this with kids 3 years and older. Begin first on land, have them squat down and jump – make it a game similar to the Lily Pad Hopping (as it requires the same motion) an outdoor gross motor activity I shared recently. Then practice this in shallow water where they are able to stand with their head above water. Have them squat down and push off of the bottom of the pool. it is not necessary for them to get their head under water, but just to get used to the idea of pushing up from the bottom of the pool. Now move them into some deeper water; have them straighten their legs, then when their legs hit bottom, have them bend their knees and push off. Remind them that this is what they need to do when they go underwater, this will help them understand and know what to do in case they ever start to drown in a pool. It is good to practice this activity periodically.
3. Experience "The Deep End", to Help Children Develop a Healthy Respect of Water
Another important activity that I recommend that parents do at pools, is to take their kid to "the deep end" so they understand that they cannot touch (a good definition for deep water is- water that is 6-12 inches deeper than the child's height: eg. a child that is 4′ 2″ would find water that is 4′ 8″ deep as deep water). Often parents say "don't swim past this point", and kids often want to push the limit. Kids might know it's "deep", but not really understand what the word means in relation to their safety. Chrissy shares, "This week during a lesson, I had a child tell me that he could touch in the deep end, so we swam to the deepest point in the pool. I held him up and he straightened his legs only to realize that they would not reach the bottom. Because of this simple act, he now understands why he cannot go to into the deep section of the pool until he learns how to swim on his own.
3 Safety Activities for Adults to Know & Practice
1. Your "Emergency Action Plan": Reach, Throw, Go: In an Emergency (a problem that requires someones help RIGHT NOW) it is always important that the adult in charge remains calm and puts into place their "Emergency Action Plan." The Reach, Throw, Go chant reminds you to keep your safety in account first; a drowning victim cannot be helped by someone who immediately jumps into the water without thought as to their own safety and the safety of others around. First, evaluate to see if you can help the person by Reaching out your arm or an object to pull them to the side. If you cannot reach them from your location, evaluate to see if you can Throw something for them to grab ahold of and pull them to the side. Lastly, if they person is out of reach, you Go in after them. For your safety and theirs, it is best to grab some type of floating device to place in between you and the victim that will help you bring them back to the side of the pool (or lake, etc.).
2. Whistle and Count: This is the safety action of most community pools, but can be used at a home or private pool when there are several children swimming and playing in the pool. Begin, by simply informing the swimmers that whenever they hear a whistle blow, they are to swim to the side of the pool and stop. This allows the acting "lifeguard" to perform a head count quickly to make sure everyone is accounted for. This is a great idea for birthday/holiday parties at a home pool, where the feeling is more relaxed, yet the safety is sometimes even more dangerous.
3. CPR & First Aid Training: All parents should be trained in CPR and First Aid. The benefits of CPR & First Aid Training is much greater than just for Summer swimming, it may be difference between life and death for anyone from a stranger to your very own child. American Red Cross and American Heart Association both offer certification and classes. Many hospitals have classes offered to parents and even families. If you do not have CPR and First Aid Training, ask your boss or human resource manager at work if they would cover these classes for you. If you are self-employed or work at home you are strongly encouraged to sign up today for classes near you.
Pool Safety: How to Help Your Baby Get Comfortable in the Water
Swimming pool safety training should begin in infancy; the more comfortable your baby is in the water, the earlier she will learn to swim. Though no child should be in or near your swimming pool without an alert adult supervising, your child's ability to swim could be a critical factor if an accident does occur. Helping your baby get comfortable in the water also provides relaxing, playful time in the pool that you and your child will enjoy.
Many babies love bath time, so you can help your baby extend those positive feelings to the pool by bathing him outside in an infant bathtub when the weather is mild. Gently splash the water to mimic the movement of water in the pool. Show him toys and speak lightly and positively about how much fun it is to be in the water.
When you think your child is ready, take her into the pool in your arms. Continue talking to her about swimming in a positive, supportive tone. Add a baby float activity center to your time in the swimming pool when your child is old enough to sit up. Never let anyone splash your child in the face or roughhouse near her when she's in the pool. If your baby does become frightened of the water, speak soothingly to her; you may have to leave the pool to do this, but try to sit near it until she is calm. Your baby takes her cues about the water from you, so she needs to see that you feel confident in and near the water.
Swimming lessons are the next step in this process. Even very young children can learn to float, which could save your child's life if he falls into a swimming pool. Swimming lessons also offer your child a chance to socialize with other children his age who are learning to love and respect the water. Your child's swimming instructor can give you tips on swimming pool safety that your whole family can use. A puddle jumper swim trainer will allow your child the chance to play in the water with some degree of independence as he learns to swim.
As your child grows, allow her more freedom in the water, but always provide close supervision. Children can tire very quickly when playing in the pool, so no matter how good a swimmer she is, she's never ready to play in the pool without an adult present. Watch for rough water play as well; children playing water games can inadvertently cause injuries that cause a child to choke and panic.
Swimming pools can be dangerous places for children, especially if they are not comfortable in the water and don't know how to swim. Although there is no substitute for alert adult supervision when your child is in or around your pool, making your family pool a friendly place from infancy can help ensure your child's safety and provide him with years of participation in a fun, healthy recreational activity.
Swimming Injuries Increase for Children
More kids are going to the emergency room for swimming injuries than 20 years ago, a new study finds.
Researchers discovered that an estimated 1.6 million swimming injuries occurred in the United States between 1990 and 2008. The number of injuries in a year increased from nearly 80,000 in 1990 to 93,000 in 2008.
The annual rate of swimming injuries among those ages 7 and older increased by almost 30 percent during the study period, from nine injuries per 10,000 participants in 1990 to 11 injuries per 10,000 participants in 2008. Kids younger than 17 accounted for nearly 60 percent of swimming injuries.
"We were surprised by how common the injuries were. On average, there's one swimming injury every six minutes," said study co-author Dr. Gary Smith, a pediatric emergency physician at the Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus, Ohio.
Smith attributed the rise in injuries to parents not paying close attention to their kids.
"You need to be 100 percent attentive," he said. "Getting injured on the playground is different than getting hurt in water. If you slip under water and your heart stops beating, that's final."
The researchers used a national sample of data from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System to look at swimming injuries treated in hospital emergency departments. The scientists specifically studied people who swam at least six times a year.
For every 100,000 people who swam yearly, 18 injuries occurred among kids ages 7 to 17, and nine injuries occurred among people 17 and older, according to the study.
The research also showed that 87 percent of the injuries happened in and around swimming pools, while 13 percent occurred in natural bodies of water.
More than half were injuries such as cuts, scrapes, bruises and punctures. Injuries happened most frequently to the head, neck and lower body.
"People tend to strike the wall or the bottom of the pool," Smith said. "These injuries are generally not serious, but they [the victims] do sustain tissue damage that do[es] take time to heal."
Swimming injuries among children younger than 7 were more likely to result in hospital admission and death, compared with injuries to those ages 7 and older.
Swimming is more popular
Swimming is the third most popular recreational activity in the United States. An estimated 301 million Americans visit swimming pools, lakes, beaches and other bodies of water each year, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
"Swimming is healthy, fun and entertaining," said David Schwebel, a psychologist at the University of Alabama at Birmingham who specializes in injury prevention. "As summer approaches, we don't want to discourage swimming, but we need to be aware of risks as with any recreational activity."
The reason for the increase in swimming injuries is unclear, but Schwebel, who was not involved in the study, said that the rise in the country's population over the 20-year period likely played a role.
Additionally, "More people are moving to warmer climates like Florida, California or Arizona," he said.
Schwebel noted one concern about the study's methods: "They looked at people who swam six times a year, but it may be that people were swimming more often, which can make the rate of injuries misleading," Schwebel said.
Smith recommended that people follow safe swimming practices, such as never swimming alone, not drinking alcohol while swimming and paying attention to strong currents in natural bodies of water.
The study was published in the March issue of the American Journal of Emergency Medicine.
Pass it on: Swimming injuries have increased over the past two decades.
CPSC recommends that residential pool and spa owners adopt water safety steps to prevent children from accessing the water when there is no adult supervision, and they are appropriately protected when an adult is available to supervise.
By asking and answering these critical questions, you can gauge the effectiveness of your water safety measures, and determine what steps need to be taken to protect children from drowning and submersion injuries:
Is there a fence around the perimeter of your pool or spa?
Are there self-closing and self-latching gates?
Are there door, gate or pool alarms in use?
Does your pool have anti-entrapment drain covers that are compliant with the P&SS Act?
Are all pool and spa covers in working order?
Has the public pool or spa you use been inspected to ensure it is compliant with federal, state and local laws?
Has someone in the family received training in CPR, first aid and emergency response?
Has everyone learned to swim?
Layers of Protection Around Aquatic Environments to Prevent Child Drowning
Written by NDPA's Education Committee
Approved by NDPA Board of Directors: January 21, 2009
Revised March 25, 2011
This position paper addresses the National Drowning Prevention Alliance's definition of "layers of protection" and how this concept can be utilized in aquatic environments to aid in the prevention of childhood drowning. The NDPA recognizes that multiple strategies are necessary to prevent drowning. The term "layers of protection" is one way to classify the majority of strategies directly affecting aquatic environments. Other important prevention strategies, such as community education, legislation, local enforcement, and public awareness, are not addressed in this position paper. This position paper is intended to be a general overview for use by safety professionals, educators, community leaders, parents, caregivers, and members of the media. Additional papers discussing more details on individual "layers" addressed in this paper will be forthcoming