According to the National SAFE KIDS Campaign, more than 900 children
ages 14 and under drown each year in the United States, while an
additional 6,900 are rushed to hospitals for near drowning. CHILDREN
AGES 4 AND UNDER ARE AT GREATEST RISK OF DROWNING. The majority
of drownings occur in residential swimming pools and open bodies
of water. Yet, children are also at risk of drowning in as little
as 1-inch of water as seen in bathtubs, buckets, and toilets.
Layers of Protection
If you own a swimming pool, whether you have children of your own,
grandchildren who visit, or friends and neighbors with young children,
utilize "Layers Of Protection" to safeguard against drowning.
Layers of Protection are methods used to delay a child's unsupervised
access to a pool or spa area, preventing a drowning or near-drowning
incident. These 'layers' do not take the place of parental supervision,
but provide additional barriers as a precautionary method.
Sample "Layers of Protection" include:
- Enclosing your pool or spa with fencing a minimum of four-foot
high with a self-closing/self-latching gate.
- Installing a self-closing/self-latching device on all doors
and windows leading to the pool area.
- Installing door alarms on doors leading outside to notify the
caretaker a child has opened a door.
- Installing an electronically controlled, impenetrable pool cover
that completely covers the pool, blocking access to water.
- Installing a pool alarm, that can be used in a pool or spa that
sounds upon detection of accidental or unauthorized entrance into
Important Safety Tips For the Pool and Beyond:
- NEVER LEAVE CHILDREN ALONE NEAR WATER. If you must leave the
area, take your child with you. During social gatherings at or
near a pool, appoint a "designated water watcher" who
is responsible for not leaving the pool area until another adult
"watcher" has been designated. The watcher should remain free of distractions, including cell phone, reading, etc.
- If a child is missing, CHECK THE POOL FIRST. Go to the edge
of the pool and scan the entire bottom and surface of the pool
before searching other areas.
- Tell children never to run, push or jump on others around water.
- Learn CPR. If you have an emergency, dial 911. Keep a phone, preferably a landline, available at all times. Know the address of your location. If your location does not have a specific location, know the name of the street and nearest cross street as well as easily identifiable markers, such as a lifeguard tower.
- Children should always wear U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jackets. "Water wings" are not life jackets.
- Keep toilet lids down.
- Keep doors to bathrooms and laundry rooms closed.
- Children in baby bath seats and rings must be watched every
- Teach children to swim after age 3 if not sooner.
- Make sure children swim only within designated safe areas of
rivers, lakes and oceans.
*Information courtesy of the National SAFE KIDS Campaign, Consumer
Product Safety Commission and the National Spa and Pool Institute.