I love to swim. I grew up going to swimming lessons first at New England Divers and later at Bevery Regional YMCA. I went on to get my senior life saving certification and work at the YMCA amd a summer camp as a lifeguard. I have taught hundreds of kids how to swim. I have witnessed a few near drownings. Swimming is fun and a good means of exercising but swimming can be deadly.
Living in Florida it seems we hear weekly of another child who drowned in a swimming pool. It is sad. I know how hard it is to keep an eye on one child near a pool, let alone a large group of kids. Unfortunately, I don’t believe there is a 100% fool proof way to avoid accidental drownings but, there are many things you can do raise the safety level of your pool.
Use layers of protection
- Childproof locks on all doors that lead to the swimming pool area
- Surround the pool with a fence that is at least 4 feet tall
- Above ground pools-remove the ladder when the pool is not in use
- Always bring a telephone into the pool area before you swim
- NEVER leave a child unattended near a pool, even for a second
- NEVER allow a child under age 8 in a swimming pool without an adult in the pool with them
- NEVER assume a child is safe because they have had swimming lessons
- Don’t use flotation devices as a substitute for direct supervision
- Be extremely careful at large gatherings, it is easy for a young child to wander off and drown when there are lots of people milling around.
- If a child is missing, look in the pool first. Seconds count in a swimming pool emergency, rule out the pool before looking anywhere else.
Recently there have been several drownings because children got stuck to the bottom of the pool by a faulty drain cover. Check you drain cover and make sure it is intact. The new drain covers are dome shaped instead of the old flat ones. Knowing where the electrical cut-off is for your pool could save a life. If someone is caught in the drain cutting off the electicity to the pump will stop the suction and release the victim.
Swimming pool ownership is a lot of fun, but it is also serious business. Have a safe fun summer but don’t take your eyes off the pool.