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Jul 25 2018

Splash Into Summer: Pool Safety

 

Summer is here and it has definitely made itself known! These last couple of weeks have been almost unbearably hot, which means our pool has been getting a lot more use lately. I wanted to take this time to remind all of the parents out there about pool safety.

Did you know that drowning can happen in less than 1 inch of water? Or that accidental drowning is the second leading cause of unintentional deaths among children, and the primary cause among kids ages 1 to 4?

As someone who has a pool that remains uncovered all year round, I know how important it is to promote pool and water safety. Just imagining anything happening to your own children is horrific for any parent, but now that my youngest is 14, the thought of another child in our neighborhood wandering into our backyard honestly makes me terrified to be a pool owner. That’s why it is so important to know the dangers of infant and child drowning, how to help, and most importantly, how to prevent it from happening!

We keep our pool enclosed by a locked fence, for starters. If you have a pool in your backyard, it should be enclosed on all sides by fencing that is at least 5 feet high. Gates should be self-latching, self-closing, and kept locked when not in use. Remember that pool covers and alarms are not substitutes for pool fences or adult supervision for little ones!

If you have an above-ground pool in your backyard, the easiest way to prevent little ones from accessing it is to remove the ladder when you are not using it. You should also always dump out all of the water from kiddie pools when you are done using it as well.

Never leave pool toys or inflatables in the pool when you are not swimming. Children could try to go in after them or reach for them and fall in.

Be within arm’s length while a toddler or child is in the water. If you are at a party or barbeque, pay attention to your child, not the party.

Being prepared is the best drowning prevention tool you’ve got. As soon as your child is old enough, enroll them in swimming lessons. Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) is another wonderful tool to have in your toolkit in case you ever need it. Another thing most parents don’t think about is recognizing the signs of drowning.

Drowning usually takes place within about 30 seconds, and it is usually silent with children. There isn’t a lot of splashing around or screaming like what you see in movies or on television. Here are some signs of drowning to look for:
  • Head low in the water with the mouth at or below water level
  • Head tilted back with mouth open
  • Glassy or empty-looking eyes
  • Eyes wide open or shut tightly
  • Hair hanging over forehead or eyes
  • Body in a near-vertical position, with little or no leg movement
  • Attempting to swim but making little or no forward progress
  • Gasping or hyperventilating
  • Near (or at) the bottom of the water
  • Attempting to roll over onto his back

(from https://www.whattoexpect.com/toddler/drowning)

It isn’t just drowning in water that you have to worry about. Secondary drowning and dry drowning are rare but can be fatal to your children, so knowing the signs and symptoms are important.

From WhatToExpect:

“Secondary drowning occurs when a child inhales even a small amount of water into his lungs. Anytime a liquid gets into the lungs, it can cause inflammation and irritation, which makes breathing difficult. The body sometimes then sends fluids from other areas to the lungs in hopes of helping out, but these fluids leave little-to-no room for breathing, which can cause cardiac arrest or death. Secondary drowning can happen a few minutes to up to three days after the water first got into the lungs.


Dry drowning, on the other hand, happens much faster. It occurs when a child inhales a small amount of water, either through the nose or mouth, leading to a spasm in the airways that causes them to close up. While this sounds incredibly uncomfortable, keep in mind that a child does not have to be visibly struggling for dry drowning to occur.”

For more information and tips on how to prevent drowning click here!

To learn about secondary and dry drowning, click here!

As parents, we know it’s better to be safe than sorry. Educating yourself and your children can prevent drowning and lead to a safe and happy summer vacation!


 


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