Pools, lakes, ponds and beaches mean summer fun and cool relief from hot weather. Yet, water can be dangerous for kids if proper precautions aren't taken. Nearly 1,000 kids die each year by drowning. Most drownings occur in home swimming pools. In fact, drowning is the second leading cause of accidental death for people between the ages of 5 and 24. But, it needn’t be that way. Most water-related accidents can be avoided by knowing how to stay safe and following a few simple guidelines.
Consider these general water-safety tips:
- Surround your pool with a fence that's at least four feet tall. Make sure slatted fences have no gaps wider than four inches, so kids can't squeeze through. Avoid chain-link fences, which can be easy for children to climb. Install self-closing and self-latching gates with latches that are beyond a child's reach.
- If your house serves as part of your pool enclosure, protect any doors leading to the pool area with an alarm. Add an underwater pool alarm that sounds when something hits the water. Make sure you can hear the alarm inside the house.
- Use a rigid, motorized safety cover to block access to the pool when it's not in use. Secure a cover on hot tubs, as well.
- While most children can learn to swim at about age five, it’s important to understand swimming lessons won't necessarily prevent a child from drowning.
- Don't leave pool toys in the water. A child may fall into the water while trying to retrieve a toy.
- Never leave children unsupervised near a pool or hot tub. During social gatherings, adults who know how to swim can take turns being the "designated watcher." Don't rely on air-filled or foam toys, such as water wings, noodles or inner tubes, to keep children safe.
- Don't allow children to play near or sit on pool or hot tub drains. Body parts and hair may become entrapped by the strong suction. Use drain covers, and consider installing multiple drains to reduce the suction.
- Keep emergency equipment hand and nearby the pool. Make sure you always have a phone in the pool area.
Learn More About Safe Kids Tulsa Area
To learn more about Safe Kids or available water safety resources, please call 918-494-SAFE (7233) or follow the additional water safety links.
Safe Kids Tulsa Area is the eastern Oklahoma affiliate of Safe Kids Worldwide
-a global organization dedicated to preventing injuries in children. The Tulsa coalition is led by The Children's Hospital at Saint Francis.