Unfortunately, we’re off to a rough start with drowning incidents this year. A pool is 100 times more likely to kill a child than a gun. According to City of Phoenix statistics, there have been 13 drowning incidents, which resulted in four fatalities– two adults and two children.
It’s vitally important to watch your children around water. That means not only around pools, but also buckets and bathtubs. Simply covering your pool is not enough, as was sadly proven when two twin girls drowned on top of a pool cover that had filled with rain.
At SWIMkids USA, our first priority is to give little ones the skills they need to save themselves in an emergency. To do so, we teach to mastery, and practice something the National Drowning Prevention Alliance calls “layers of protection.”
We’ve probably scared you by now. So, what are the layers of protection, and how can you implement them? Here’s an easy-to-understand drowning prevention guideline. (Note: this is a simplified version of the NDPA’s guide.)
- Supervise at all times. It’s obvious that you need to constantly watch your kids around water to keep them safe. However, you need to supervise them even when you aren’t participating in aquatic activities. Always know where your children are, and always be aware of potential dangers in unfamiliar environments- such as a friend’s house. If you can’t locate your little one, always check the pool or spa first. See the video above for a more in-depth explanation.
- Install physical layers limiting access to pool areas. This means putting a fence around your yard, and enclosing your pool. The pool enclosure should have a self-latching gate that latches at least 54″ above the ground, preferably with a lock. Make a rule to never, under any circumstances, prop open the gate for any reason. Be sure to place all patio furniture, garden items and play structures at least 4 feet from the wall to prevent climbing over the fence. Additionally, place a cover over your pool.
- Invest in an alarm system. Doors and windows with access to the pool area should have alarms to warn adults about potential outside activity. Water (surface and subsurface) alarms can be placed in the pool, and they will alert you when the water has been disturbed. In addition, install a lock that is out of reach of children on the doorway leading to the pool.
- Learn CPR and rescue breathing. Mere seconds can mean the difference between life and death. Here at SWIMkids USA, we offer community CPR certification so you can equip yourself with the knowledge and skills needed to save someone’s life.
- Enroll in swim lessons. Everyone should know how to swim! And once your kids begin to learn, don’t stop. In order to retain swimming ability, you have to use it.
We hope this short guide helps you understand that we need to practice layers of protection all year long! Please keep your kids safe around water, and help us make this Arizona’s safest year yet.