Three Things to Keep in Mind for Water Safety


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Summer might bring fun at the beach, but it also harbors potential dangers. Many child protective services around the country are warning parents and kids alike to be careful while playing around and in pools, lakes, rivers and beaches this year because of the risk of drowning.

Drowning deaths are common and often preventable with better supervision and guidance. Many people are unaware of how quickly a child can drown, and often don’t know the warning signs. Although television has popularized the yelling, splashing victim, in reality, most people drown without making much noise because they are trying to conserve their air.

Did you know that children who drown in pools are typically out of sight for less than five minutes, and the majority are under the supervision of either one or both parents? It’s easy to underestimate risk, especially when parents assume children know the dangers of drowning. Here are three things you should keep in mind for preventing drowning accidents.

1. It Doesn’t Need to be Deep

Did you know that it’s possible to drown in a puddle of water? While this is unlikely to happen, the fact underscores an important point — you can’t assume that a shallow pool isn’t a hazard. For this reason, babies should never be left alone in baths, and pools should still be treated as a potential hazard even if they are shallow enough that standing is possible.

2. Have Adequate Swimming Pool Fences

Although not every state regulates pool fences, there are several standards that help ensure safety. Proper height and spacing of outdoor fences for pool areas helps to make sure that children do not get into the area unsupervised. It’s worth nothing that many families use the back of the home in place of gates and fences, even though having a pool fence and pool area isolated from the house is more ideal for preventing children from entering the area. When it’s possible for a child to enter the pool area just by walking out the back door, adequate safety measures need to be put in place, such as an alarm system that can only be disabled by adults, and heard throughout the house.

3. Warn Children About the Potential Dangers

Once children are old enough to understand, they should be taught again and again that pools, drainage ditches, and other areas are not places they should enter alone. Many children lack proper fear of swimming pools at their own home because they have safely played in them before — they need to be educated as to the inherent dangers.

Do you have pool fences for your backyard? What fence styles do you think work best? Let us know in the comments.

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