Although you may think you will hear a splash or a cry for help, children often slip into the water without making a sound. Be aware and always watch children around water.
1) What to do if you find a child in the pool:
• Yell for help and the get the child out of the pool and onto the pool deck
• If someone is with you, have them call 911. Determine if the child is still breathing: tilt the head back; if you don’t hear or feel breathing or see the chest rising, begin CPR immediately. Continue CPR until emergency help arrives.
• If you are alone and the child is not breathing, start CPR immediately. After one minute, call 911. Return to the child and continue CPR until help arrives.
2) Children aren’t waterproof. Provide protection by installing an isolation fence that separates the pool from the house and yard. The fence should be a minimum of 5 feet high with vertical spacers no more than 4 inches apart. Gates should open outward from the pool and be self-closing and self-latching with the latch out of reach of small children.
3) Children should be supervised at all times around water. Toddlers have been known to drown in as little as one inch of water. You should not read, play cards, talk on the phone, mow the lawn or do any other distracting activity while watching children.
4) During social gatherings, be certain that an adult has the major responsibility for watching the children and swimmers at all times. Never delegate this supervision to an older child or sibling. The responsibility is too great.
5) Never leave a child alone out of eye contact supervision in or near a pool, spa or bathtub- not even for a second. Beware of deadly distractions including telephone calls, doorbells, cooking, pets and other children. Always take your child with you if you need to leave the pool or bath area.
6) Look in the pool first if a child is missing. 75% of children who drowned were seen only 5 minutes or less before drowning.
7) Learn CPR. Insist that babysitters or guardians are CPR-trained and that they are trained and instructed in pool safety measures and rules.
8) Do not allow children to play around the pool. Keep toys, especially wheeled toys stored outside of the pool area.
9) Keep life-saving devices next to the pool including a hook or pole and a flotation device. Always keep a phone with you poolside. Do not use air-filled swimming aids (such as “water wings”) in place of life jackets or life preservers with children. These can give parents and children a false sense of security and increase the risk of drowning. Remember these are flotation devices and you need to stay in the pool with your child.
10) Teaching a child to swim at an early age is a good idea. However, children should never be allowed to swim in any body of water without adult supervision, even if the child has had lessons and is a proficient swimmer. Young children should never be considered water-safe despite their swimming skills, previous instruction or experience.
11) Do not place objects such as chairs, tables or ladders near the pool or spa fence that would allow a youngster to climb over the fence to enter the pool area. Tree limbs and low overhanging roofs should be removed or made inaccessible.
12) Make certain that all doors and windows leading form the house to the pool or spa area are always kept locked. Pool and spa area entries should have a self-closing, self-latching mechanism above the reach of toddlers to protect against unauthorized entry and use.
13) If you use a pool or spa cover, always completely remove the cover before using the spa or pool to avoid the possibility of anyone being trapped and drowning under the cover. Be especially alert if you use any of the lightweight, floating covers as these are not solid and will not hold up a child. Make sure you never allow any water to stand on a pool cover. A child can slide into the center where the water can pool up to 10 inches deep.
14) Keep small children away from buckets containing liquid: 5-gallon industrial containers are a particular danger. Be sure to empty buckets when household chores are done and store them up high.
15) Empty wading pools immediately after use. Turn empty wading pools, wheelbarrows, pails and other containers over or stand them up so that they can’t collect rainwater.
16) Do not drink alcohol or use drugs before or during swimming, boating or water skiing. Teach teenagers about the dangers of drinking alcohol while swimming, boating or water skiing.
17) Make sure all family members wear a Coast Guard-approved life jacket when on a boat for sailing, fishing or other water activities. Make sure children wear a life jacket that is made for them and fits.
18) Teach your children good pool or spa safety habits: no running, pushing playmates, jumping on others, diving or jumping in shallow water or dunking. Teach your children the most effective way to get out of the pool or spa quickly.