Safety Tips for Kids Near Pools

Drowning is a very serious risk for young children. It is the fourth largest cause of death for children under the age of five. Parents of children in homes with pools need to be especially careful about safety to prevent injury and death due to drowning. Here are five important pool safety tips for families:

  1. Never, ever leave young children unsupervised near a pool. This goes for both inground and above ground pools. Wherever there is a body of water, a child will be at risk. Also, don't assume that an older child will be safe when left unattended, nobody should swim alone. Even children who are strong swimmers and have had swimming lessons are still at risk for drowning. And, never assume that a flotation device is an adequate substitute for real supervision.

  2. All children should wear Coast Guard approved flotation devices or lifejackets at all times whenever in the vicinity of a pool, even when on the deck and not in the pool. Approved devices will help to flip a child to a face up position if they should fall into the pool. Unapproved devices, like arm "floaties" that are very popular can be extremely dangerous, because if a child should fall into the pool, the floaties may turn the child so that their face is in the water.

  3. Be sure that the entire pool area is completely fenced in. In most areas, this is required. But, even if it is not the law in your area, it is very smart to ensure that a locked gate secures the pool area. No pool can be watched 24 hours a day, so having this extra layer of security is important.

  4. Any pool covers, like solar covers or winter covers, should be completely removed before anyone is allowed to swim. Pulling the cover to one side is extremely dangerous, as children can become easily trapped underneath or entangled in the floating cover. Remove the cover and place it away from the pool.

  5. Have a phone nearby at all times. In the event of an emergency, you do not want to have to run in the house to be able to call for help. Also, you should never leave the pool area when children are around to go inside and use the bathroom or answer the phone.

  6. Learn CPR. The American Red Cross offers on-site classes for neighborhoods in many areas. If your neighborhood has several families with children, you can all join together and take a CPR course so that everyone is prepared to handle emergencies.

You can never fully ensure your children's safety, but there are many things that you can do to make your home and neighborhood safer for all children. Serious emergencies can happen in the blink of an eye, and too many people take safety for granted and fail to take the necessary precautions when it comes to pool safety. The bottom line is, constant supervision is required any time there is any water, especially a pool.