Drowning Prevention Tips
Supervision is the key to pool safety, but supervision combined with a variety of barriers and safety devices - fences, locked doors, latched gates, pool covers and more - goes even further toward drowning prevention.
Maintain Adult Supervision
Although it is impossible to monitor every moment of a child's life, you can avoid tragedy by watching children while they swim and are near the water.
- Never leave children unattended. 69% of the drowning victims were being supervised at the time of death but were left alone momentarily.
- If a child is missing, always check the pool first. It only takes 5 seconds . . . . . for a child to drown! Every second counts toward preventing death or disability.
- Designate a "Child Watcher" for all social gatherings. This person does not have to be a trained lifeguard, just someone who can be trusted to watch over the pool and children, recognize a dangerous situation, and call for help should an accident occur.
- Don't rely on swim lessons or floatation devices to make your child "water safe". Always maintain visual contact, 25% of all drowning victims have had swim lessons.
Utilize Protective Barriers Around Your Pool
While there is no substitute for adult supervision, safeguards and barriers around pools and hot tubs will prevent access and provide additional protection for children. Studies show that 69% of drowning incidents occur when supervision failed and there were no other layers of protection in use.
- All doors and windows exiting to the pool area should be kept closed and locked. This reduces the chance of children slipping out of sight and into the water unnoticed.
- Install (non-climbable) pool fencing completely surrounding your pool. The idea is to separate the house and yard area from your pool, eliminating access to the water by a toddler.
- Install alarms and secondary locking devices out of the child's reach, on all doors and windows leading to your pool area so you know when someone is leaving the house.
- Use self-closing and self-latching gates. Gates should open away from the water and latches should be high out of a child's reach.
Be Prepared For An Emergency
Don't assume it won't happen to you. Children drown quickly, always without warning. By preparing now, you can enjoy days centered around the water with confidence, knowing that everyone is safe.
- Learn CPR. Adults and children over age 13 should learn infant and child CPR, early performance of CPR and immediate activation of Emergency Medical Services (EMS) greatly increase chances for survival.
- Keep a telephone and emergency numbers by the pool. Post "9-1-1" and other emergency phone numbers so they are highly visible, and on the phones kept by the pool.
- Enroll children in swim lessons. If you don't know how to swim, enroll with them in lessons taught by a qualified instructor.
- Keep rescue equipment by the pool. Inflatable toys are not life preservers. Often rescuers are pushed underwater as a victim panics and struggles for air, use a long handled hook or approved floatation ring device to assist a struggling swimmer to the water's edge.
All layers of protection have to fail before a drowning can take place...In other words, supervision must fail long enough for the child to slip away, and that can take just seconds...barriers must fail giving the child access to the pool...the swim lessons fail and the child drowns, still unnoticed by the supervision...minutes later, the child is noticed missing and is found fully-clothed in the pool. The child is pulled from the pool, 9-1-1 is called, and CPR is in progress. The child is taken to the hospital but never returns home.