It’s summer time. Kids are out of school. Families are enjoying backyard barbeques and pool parties. A backyard pool is more common today and provide recreation for family and friends a large part of the year. But let’s not forget pool safety! A backyard swimming pool can be as much fun as it can be dangerous, especially for children.
Drowning is the number one cause of death for children under five in Florida, Arizona and California. According to government statistics, for every drowning there are approximately eleven near drowning incidents with many resulting in debilitating brain damage.
A study was initiated by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, of children age 5 and younger who drowned in backyard pools in the above mentioned states. The results may help clarify why drowning is still the number one killer for three states and stands at number two for the nation. These are some of the findings:
1. Which parent was in charge of supervision at the time of drowning?
- 69 percent of incidents occurred while one or both parents were responsible for supervision
- 77 percent of the children had been seen 5 minutes or less before being missed and subsequently discovered in the pool.
- 23 percent were last seen in the yard, porch or patio, but not in the pool area.
- 39 percent were doing chores.
- 18 percent socializing.
- 9 percent on the telephone.
The men and women of the Los Angeles Fire Department would like to reiterate the importance of pool safety, especially at this time when we are experiencing triple digit temperatures. THERE CAN BE NO COMPROMISE ON POOL SAFETY.
- Keep rescue equipment (such as a shepherd's hook or life preserver) and a telephone by the pool.
- Do not let your child use air-filled "swimming aids." They are not a substitute for approved life vests.
- Anyone watching young children around a pool should learn CPR and be able to rescue a child if needed. Stay within an arm's length of your child.
- Remove all toys from the pool after use so children aren't tempted to reach for them.
- Never leave a child unattended in the water or pool area. Don't be distracted by doorbells, phone calls, chores or conversations. If you must leave the pool area, take the child with you.
- Any door leading to the pool area should be kept locked.
- Invest in floating pool alarm devices
- If there is a lot of traffic around your pool, a self-closing and self locking gate assures closure for those “who forget.”
- Every second counts, always look for a missing child in the pool first. Valuable time is wasted looking for missing children anywhere but in the pool!
Teaching your child how to swim DOES NOT mean your child is safe in water, but you can help them help themselves by:
- Having your children trained for pool survival when he is able to crawl or walk to your pool.
- All survival swim instruction must be reintroduced to children after a period of not being in the pool.
- Your child can be taught survival swimming and will retain it during water active months with practice.
- Children should be taught to negotiate to a wall or steps and know how to get out.
Consumer Product Safety Commission
Are You Watching Your Kids Around Water?
Water Related Injuries
Splash Zone USA (with kids in mind)
Submitted by d'Lisa Davies
Los Angeles Fire Department