Children are naturally curious, so it’s especially important to be careful with children around water. According to the Centers for Disease Control, drowning is one of the top 10 causes of death for children in every region of the world. These guidelines can protect children at the pool.
Keep kids at arm’s length.
Wherever there is standing water, even a child-sized pool, kids under 5 years old should be within arm’s length of an adult who is supervising them. Children can drown in as little as two inches of water.
Designate a pool-watcher.
At a pool, parents should know who’s watching the kids and never assume that a child is being watched. Always designate one adult who knows how to swim and is completely in charge of watching the children.
Enclose your pool.
Don’t depend on a pool alarm. Secure your home pool within a fence or other barrier that is at least four feet high and surrounds all four corners of the pool.
Swimmers are at risk too.
Swim lessons can significantly reduce the risk of pool-related injuries among children. But just because a child knows how to swim does not mean that they’re not at risk for drowning. Children in the pool always should be closely supervised by an adult.
For non-swimmers and beginning swimmers, use approved flotation devices and life vests. Avoid floaties — they are not a substitute for approved life jackets and can give children and parents a false sense of security.
Learn child and infant CPR.
Everyone at a pool should be ready to do what they can to rescue a child who is not breathing. Even young teenagers can learn CPR, and children can learn how to seek help when someone is in trouble.
Talk with your child’s pediatrician and learn more about children and water safety here.
Author Amanda Kay, M.D., is a pediatrician at Christiana Care.
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