As the weather warms up, pools are preparing or have opened for the summer. Memorial Day is the traditional opening day of the summer swim season. Swimming is the most popular summer time activity. A new report released by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission shows that the number of reported fatal child drownings in swimming pools involving children younger than 5 has actually decreased 17 percent nationwide since 1910. Unfortunately, drowning is still the #1 cause of unintentional death for children ages 1-4. Of the total number of drowning deaths in pools and spas of children ages 0-14 from 2012 -2012 77% of those deaths involved children younger than age 5. Annually there are about 5900 emergency department pool and spa drowning-related injuries treated annually.
Parents and caregivers are reminded to follow Pool Safely’s simple steps to keep children safer in and around water:
- Install a four sided fence with a self-closing, self-latching gate around all pools and spas or a mechanically operated pool cover that prohibits access to the pool via a continuous connection between the cover and the deck, cannot be opened or shut without a key or digital touch pad, and has a tag indicating that the cover meets ASTM standards.
- Designate a Water Watcher to supervise children at all times around the water. This person should not be reading, texting, using a smart phone or be otherwise distracted.
- Learn how to swim and teach your child how to swim.
- Learn how to perform CPR on children and adults.
- Keep children away from pool drains, pipes and other openings to avoid entrapments.
- Ensure any pool and spa you use has drain covers that comply with federal safety standards. If you do not know, ask your pool service provider about safe drain covers. Since the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool & Spa Safety law went into effect in December of 2008, there have been no drain entrapment-related deaths involving children in public pools and spas.
Enjoy the warm summer days and please be safe.