Swimming safety is such an important topic for young families. Community pools and backyard pools require special vigilance when it comes to our children. Make sure your child’s swimming activities are safe as well as fun by following these basic tips.
Hard Facts about Swimming Safety
Among preventable injuries, drowning is the leading cause of death for children 1 – 4 years old.
- Children 1 – 4 years old are more likely to drown in a pool.
- Children 5 years and older are more likely to drown in natural water, such as ponds, lakes and rivers.
The risk of drowning in open water increases with age: The average 10-year-old, for example, is three times more likely to drown in open water than in a pool.
Safety Tips During Swimming
The right age to start:
Children as young as 6 months can be introduced to water if you have your own pool or one owned by a friend or relative that you visit frequently. Swimming lessons can be started for:
- Children who are around a year old. The important thing to remember is to teach children to swim whenever they are ready.
- Children especially those under 3 must never be dunked in water. Not only is this dangerous as they can swallow large amounts of water, but it can also instill the fear of swimming in a child.
Active supervision is a must:
One cannot stress enough how important it is to actively supervise your children. There can be no substitute for it and your children require your undivided attention when they are around any open body of water. Remember to never turn your back, even for a moment, when your children are in the water.
Whenever an infant or toddler is in the pool, an adult must always be within an arm’s reach. It is advisable to keep a hand on the infant or toddler at all times when they are in the pool.
Even if a lifeguard is present, it might not be possible for them to pay attention to all the little swimmers at once. Hence, always keep an eye on your child.
Use of fences and gates:
Fences and gates help to keep children out in the absence of an adult or lifeguard to watch over them when they are in the pool. Ensure that the swimming pool is fenced on all 4 sides and that the height of the fence is at least 4 feet. Also, install a self-latching gate to prevent children from accessing the pool unsupervised.
Pool furniture and items such as floats must be kept away from the fence so that children cannot use them to climb over the fence.
Education about safety basics:
Ensure that your children understand and follow basic safety rules around the pool such as:
- No running near the pool. Always walk slowly.
- No going near the water or in the water without an adult.
- No jumping on or pushing others as it could lead to an injury.
- No chewing gum or eating in the water as it is a choking hazard.
- Teach your children how to reach for a line or pole if they ever struggle in the water.
Always use flotation devices that are U.S Coast Guard approved. Never use toys as flotation devices and remove all toys from the water after swimming.
In addition, once you are done using items such as inflatable pools, buckets, containers, etc. the water must be emptied and they must be kept out of the reach of children
Use of drain covers in the pool:
If the drain cover in the pool or hot tub is missing, broken or loose, do not use it. Drains must be covered properly so that hair or children’s baggy trunks do not get caught in them. Children must be educated about the dangers of drain entrapment and entanglement and to not play or swim near drain or suction outlets.
Pools or hot tubs with a single main drain system can be especially dangerous. Use pools or hot tubs which have multiple drains installed with safety measures such as anti-entrapment drain covers installed. A safety vacuum release system must be in place in order to release suction and shut the pump down in the event of an entrapment.
Learning CPR is a high priority for many parents with active, young children. Kingwood Emergency Hospital offers monthly CPR classes. Check out our event calendar for the next scheduled class. If you work with a school or organization that requires teacher / instructor certification, please give us a call to inquire about a private facility lesson. We’re all about community safety!
In addition, always keep a first aid kit near the pool to ensure your swimming experience is safe and ready for minor emergencies.
About Kingwood Emergency Hospital
Kingwood Emergency Hospital serves Humble, Atascocita, Kingwood, Porter, Splendora, New Caney and the surrounding communities by providing the highest level of emergency care, with Board Certified ER Physicians and ER Specialty Nurses.
Kingwood Emergency Hospital is not for sniffles or minor scrapes. We’re equipped to handle medical emergencies 24-hours a day, seven days a week, with a full-service on-site radiology department (X-Ray, CT scan and ultrasound), on-site laboratory testing for results in minutes, and a full pharmacy. Because emergencies are all we do, typical wait times to be seen by a doctor are within just a few minutes instead of hours, unlike traditional hospital ER’s. At Kingwood Emergency Hospital, the doctor will literally see you now.