Summers in New England tend to be short— which is why we do our best to enjoy them! Staying cool by going for a swim at the pool or beach is a great way to enjoy the summer weather. However, a day at the pool can bring on feelings of anxiety for parents with young children. According to Children’s Safety Network, a national resource center for injury and violence prevention, about 400 pool and spa child drownings occur each year in the U.S. Research also shows that African American children between the ages of 5 and 19 are about 5 times more likely to drown than Caucasian children in the same age range. Even if your child knows how to swim, there is the danger of becoming trapped in drain covers and other pool equipment. Learn how these simple safety steps can prevent child drownings and save lives:
- Be a good “water-watcher” by never taking your eyes off your children! Avoid reading or chatting with friends. Make sure to take turns with other adults so that everyone can enjoy their day at the pool or beach!
- For emergencies, have a cell phone handy but no cell phone talk, texting or web browsing!
- Learn how to swim and teach your children how to swim. Many community and non-profit programs, such as the YMCA, offer swimming lessons at no charge or at reduced prices. Check with your city or town hall for local resources.
- Always keep non-swimmers and toddlers within arm’s reach.
- Teach children basic water safety tips. Websites like www.poolsafely.gov have child-friendly, interactive activities to teach children about water safety.
- Share safety instructions with family and friends, and any adults that will be supervising your children.
- Learn to perform CPR on children and adults. Check with your local chapter of the American Red Cross for information on classes.
If you have your own pool:
- Install a four-foot fence with self-closing and self-latching gates around the pool and spa.
- If possible, install pool and gate alarms to alert you when children have entered the pool area.
- Maintain pool and spa covers in good, working condition.
- Ensure you use anti-entrapment drain covers.
Following these tips will help make your summer fun and safe!
For more safety information, please visit www.poolsafely.gov, www.safekids.org or the Massachusetts Injury Prevention Program at www.mass.gov/dph/injury.
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