Swimming Pool Safety Tips

With Memorial Day quickly approaching, swimming pool season is almost here. While swimming is a fun recreational activity for families, it also poses risks. According to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 10 people die daily from unintentional drowning, with two of the ten being children under the age of 14. They also say that drowning is the fifth leading cause of unintentional injury death for people of all ages, and the second leading cause of injury death for children ages 1 to 14 years. Other than birth defects, more children 1-4 years old die from drowning than any other cause of death.

A lot of the risks can be minimized if there are rules in place and everyone practices water safety. The Cleveland Clinic offers these tips:

  1. Fence it in. “If you have your own pool, make sure it’s properly enclosed by a fence at least four feet high with a self-latching gate and no easily accessible foot or hand holds,” says pediatrician Richard So, MD. You’ll also want to ensure that no pool furniture is kept alongside the fence that can be used to climb over it.
  2. Get your children swimming lessons. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends lessons for children ages 4 and older. Start even younger if you have your own pool or you frequently visit a relative or friend who has a pool.
  3. Learn CPR. For any swimming session, make sure there is an adult present who knows CPR. “That’s especially important if you’re going to someone else’s house or dropping your kids off at a swim party,” Dr. So says. “It’s also a great idea to learn it yourself.”
  4. Use drain covers. Every year, there are multiple reports of children getting their hair or baggy swim trunks caught in pool drains. Make sure drains are properly covered to avoid injury.
  5. Use sunscreen. This is true for any summer activity, of course, but especially for swimming. “The most important thing is to reapply sunscreen after swimming or as recommended on the bottle, since there’s really no such thing as truly waterproof or water-resistant sunscreen,” notes Dr. So. “Make sure you use a minimum of SPF 15, but there’s probably no need to go any higher than SPF 35.”
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