The 4th of July is a time of family fun and celebrations. Many families will begin their family vacations during the Independence Day weekend, and many will choose a locale near the pool or water for their vacation destinations. Unfortunately, many children will not live to see another 4th of July because of a drowning accident.
According to U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, drowning is the leading cause of preventable death among children under the age of 5 years old. The Pool Safely campaign was launched to encourage parents and pool owners to adopt and practice proven water safety steps to help prevent needless pool deaths. Adding even one extra safety step in and around the water can save a life this summer. You never know which step might save a life…Until it does.
The 14 water safety steps organized by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission are placed in three categories:
Behavioral actions relate to personal responsibility and action. That means adults should stay close to the pool, be alert, and watch all children in and around the pool.
Never leave a child unattended in a pool or spa, and always watch your child when they are in or near a pool or spa. A minute could mean the difference between life and death. Do not take your eyes off your child.
Teach children basic water safety tips. The local YMCA is great place to take your children for swimming lessons. To find your local YMCA visit http://www.ymca.net.
Avoid entrapment by keeping children away from pool drains, pipes, and other openings. If you don’t know where the pool openings are, ask the pool owner to show you so you can let your children be aware, so they can avoid those openings.
Have a phone close by at all times when your family is using a pool or spa. Public pools should have a 911 only phone mounted on the fence for emergency purposes. If you don’t see the phone, ask. If you are in a private pool, have a cell or cordless land line phone on hand.
If a child is missing, look for them in the pool or spa first. Every second counts so make the pool or spa the very first place you look for your child.
Share safety instructions with family, friends, and neighbors. Spread the word! Do your part to help protect the life of a child.
Knowledge-based actions relate to skills like swimming, CPR, and other related water safety activities. Learn and practice water safety skills and educate your children to do the same.
Learn to swim. Learn how to float on your back, swim underwater, tread water, and basic swim strokes. Ensure that your children learn how to swim.
Learn to perform CPR on children and adults; keep your certifications up to date. By knowing how to perform basic life saving skills, you can strengthen the chances of survival of a child that has been rescued from a pool or spa accident. Your local Red Cross has CPR and life saving classes available. http://www.redcross.org
Understand the basics of life-saving so you can assist in a pool emergency.
Equipment actions relate to barriers such as fences and safety equipment like compliant drain covers. That means every pool should have the appropriate equipment to ensure water safety
Install a four-foot fence around the perimeter of the pool and spa with self-closing and self latching gates. If the pools in your area don’t have the proper gates and fencing, ask that the responsible parties have the proper gates and fences installed. Having proper gates and fences installed can prevent a child from wandering in the pool area and accidently falling into an unattended pool.
If your house serves as the fourth side of a fence around a pool, install a pool alarm and use it all the time.
Ensure any pool and spa you use has compliant drain covers; ask if you do not know. The Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act requires that each public pool and spa in the United States be equipped with drain covers that comply with the ASME codes and standards.
Maintain pool and spa covers in good working order. Children can fall through faulty pool and spa covers.
Have life saving equipment such as life rings or floats available for easy use.
For more information, visit http://www.poolsafely.gov. You can follow updates on new tips on Twitter (@poolsafely). Visit the Flickr page at www.flickr.com/photos/poolsafely, or visit their YouTube channel at http://www.youtube.com/poolsafely