If you own a pool or spa, you need to update all anti-entrapment drain covers, barriers and rescue equipment. All adults and teens in your household must know rescue techniques and be able to supervise swimming and pool-area activities at all times. Follow these tips which include suggestions from the Centers for Disease Control and National Drowning Prevention Alliance.
Consider All 'Children' at RiskWhat age group is most at risk for drowning? That should be which age groups? Young children and teens are at greatest risk for drowning. Statistically, children under age 5 and adolescents and young adults between the ages of 15 and 24 have the highest drowning rates, according to the CDC.
Use Layers of ProtectionThe "seven layers of protection" practice was introduced around the time that the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act was signed into law by President George W. Bush -- December of 2007. Since then, they've been adapted into the national 'Pool Safely' campaign backed by a consortium of safety and swimming organizations.
Adult Supervision Means Uninterrupted Focus on the Pool & SwimmersAt all times. No exceptions, not even for:
- The text message you have to look at or respond to.
- The phone call -- cell or landline -- you need to make or take.
- The hedges over there that need clipping.
- The snacks you need to get from the kitchen.
- The work you need to complete by tomorrow
- Looking directly at the person you're having a conversation with. They can still hear you even if your eyes are focused on young swimmers.
- Any other distractions not listed here.
Learn CPR & Safe Water-Rescue TechniquesYou know that class in first-aid or CPR at the local 'Y' you've been meaning to sign up for? Contact them today. It may be the monkey on your back that you've been trying to avoid, but accidents don't wait for procrastinators or busy schedules.
Swim Lessons & Water Safety EducationWhether or not you own a pool or spa, it's a good idea to make sure the children in your life (including grandchildren) learn how to swim. Most children love to go swimming in the summer. They need to be taught the basic and proper techniques for swimming and water safety. Do not, however, let the fact that your children have had lessons give you a false sense of security. The unexpected can happen. Always supervise.
Swimming & Drinking: A Lethal MixAlcohol use is involved in up to 70% of deaths associated with water recreation and almost a quarter of ED visits for drowning. Alcohol is a major contributing factor in up to 50% of drownings among adolescent boys. Who hasn't' heard about guys at a frat party jumping or diving off the roof into the backyard pool or other stupid antics at parties?
The CDC advises to avoid drinking alcohol before or during swimming, boating, or water skiing. Also, do not drink alcohol while supervising children.
Remember: Alcohol consumption influences balance, coordination and judgment, and its effects are heightened by sun exposure and heat.
Your Own Backyard: An Unsafe Haven?Home can be the most dangerous place. Childhood drownings occur most often in residential swimming pools. Often, it's right in the young victim's' own backyard. You may have your layers of protection in place, but nothing can substitute for undistracted adult supervision.
Pools are More Dangerous Than Cars for the Under-4 SetSwimming is a greater risk than riding in a car. A swimming pool is 14 times more likely than a motor vehicle to be involved in the death of a child under the age 4.
Seizure DisordersFor people with seizure disorders, drowning is the most common cause of unintentional injury death, with the bathtub as the site of highest drowning risk.
If you or a family member has a seizure disorder, the CDC recommends one-on-one supervision around water, including swimming pools. Consider taking showers rather than using a bath tub for bathing.