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12 Home swimming pool safety advice for all parents

Every private swimming pool should be surrounded by a child-proof fence and be fitted with a safety net to prevent children drowning.

A backyard pool offers limitless summer fun but comes with the enormous responsibility of keeping our children safe.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, despite all we know about prevention, drowning is still the greatest cause of unintentional injury-related mortality among children aged 1 to 4. Drowning is also a common cause of accidental death for children and young adults ages 5 to 19. In fact, approximately 900 children die every year in pools, oceans, lakes, streams, bathtubs, and even buckets of water, while many more sustain nonfatal injuries.

You and everyone else in your family have the ability to keep children safe. Here are 12 ways you can prevent children from drowning.

  1. Teach children that water can be dangerous and that they should never go near or into water without an adult present.
  2. Ensure your child is ‘properly’ supervised around water. Put your phone away. Children can drown in the time it takes to upload an Instagram photo.
  3. Know and recognise the signs of a child in distress. Typically, children drown in silence and swiftly when they are upright in the water with their heads leaned back. In contrast to what is depicted in movies, children rarely splash, flail their arms, or cry out for aid.
  4. Consider enrolling your child in swimming lessons. Even if you do not live near water, your child will eventually be near it, whether on holiday or at a friend’s house. Swimming lessons cannot “drown-proof” anyone, but according to a recent policy statement from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), it does decrease the risk of drowning.
  5. Hire a certified professional to inspect the pool’s safety cover, electrical components, and fencing prior to opening the pool for the season.
  6. Knowing even basic CPR and responding immediately – rather than waiting for emergency responders – can mean the difference between life and death in cases of drowning or whenever the heart stops beating.
  7. Be cautious when using inflatable pools. According to research, they are responsible for 11% of pool drownings among children under the age of 5.
  8. Never rely on water wings, inner tubes, noodles, or floaties. These are not lifesaving devices.
  9. Install a fence with a minimum height of 4 feet on all four sides of the pool. Young children should not be able to climb over, under, or through the fence. Ensure the gate leading to your pool is self-closing, self-latching, and opens outward. The distance between the bottom of the fence and the ground should be less than four inches. Latches should be placed above a child’s reach. Never prop a gate leading to the pool area open.
  10. If possible, keep the pool covered when it’s not in use. Make sure the cover fits securely over the pool’s entire surface. Otherwise, a child may get under it and become trapped.
  11. Be extra cautious of pools with suction drains that can trap a swimmer underwater. Few parents realise that children can die in a pool or hot tub by getting sucked down and trapped in a drain. Tie their hair back or have them wear a bathing cap, and make sure their swimsuit fits snugly, with no loose ties.
  12. Watch your child closely and make sure they don’t swim or play near drains.

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