With summer in full swing, a few reminders about pool safety are in order. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), swimming pools can be very dangerous for children, especially toddlers. The following tips can help keep your children safe while enjoying summer swim time.
- Never leave your children alone in or near the pool, even for a moment. An adult who knows CPR should be present at all times.
- Practice touch supervision with children younger than 5 years. This means that the adult is within an arm's length of the child at all times.
- You must put up a fence to separate your house from the pool. (Many pool drowning accidents can be prevented with proper fencing to keep unsupervised children safe). Install a fence at least 4 feet high around all four sides of the pool. This fence should completely separate the pool from the house and play area of the yard. Use gates that self-close and self-latch, with latches higher than your children's reach.
- Keep rescue equipment (such as a shepherd's hook or life preserver) and a telephone by the pool.
- Do not use air-filled "swimming aids" as a substitute for approved life vests.
- Remove all toys from the pool after use so children aren't tempted to reach for them.
- After the children have finished swimming, secure the pool so they can't get back into it.
- Remember, even "kiddie" pools can be extremely dangerous for toddlers. Empty all small wading pools when not in use.
- Have lots of cool water on hand for proper hydration.
- Apply sunscreen at regular intervals.
Remember, teaching your child to swim is only the first step to keeping them safe in the water this summer. Be an active participant in all their water activities, and join in on the fun.
For more information on summer safety and education, contact Smart Start South Central, an early childhood initiative based in East Central University's Center for Continuing Education and Community Services, at 580-559-5367.
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