Pool Safety Tips. 2 Seconds Is Too Long!
Along with reports of our great year-round weather in the Valley of the Sun often come news reports of accidental deaths by drowning. This makes pool safety a high priority for Arizonans where the potential for disaster from swimming pool drownings exists all year long. On average, nearly 90 people die from drowning in Arizona each year with the majority of those deaths happening between April and August. This comes as no surprise since Arizona summers are known for outdoor recreation including swimming and boating. Although they make up only 20% of the number of total drowning deaths in Arizona according to the Arizona Department of Health Services, news reports usually center on children who have drowned in their family’s or a friend’s backyard swimming pool. Most of them, about 75%, were being supervised around water by at least one adult and were out of the sight of those adults for 5 minutes or less. While less than half of all drowning deaths in the state involve swimming pool accidents, owners of swimming pools must adhere to stringent state and local building codes. However, the best way to prevent swimming pool drowning is by following simple water safety procedures.
Water Safety Must Be A Priority:
- Swim in designated areas supervised by a parent or lifeguards.
- Always swim with a buddy; do not allow anyone to swim alone. Even at a public pool or a lifeguarded beach, use the buddy system!
- Ensure that everyone in the family learns to swim well. Enroll in age-appropriate Red Cross water orientation and Learn-to-Swim courses.
- Never leave a young child unattended near water and do not trust a child’s life to another child; teach children to always ask permission to go near water.
- Have young children or inexperienced swimmers wear U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jackets around water, but do not rely on life jackets alone.
- Establish rules for your family and enforce them without fail. For example, set limits based on each person’s ability, do not let anyone play around drains and suction fittings, and do not allow swimmers to hyperventilate before swimming under water or have breath-holding contests.
- Even if you do not plan on swimming, be cautious around natural bodies of water including ocean shoreline, rivers and lakes. Cold temperatures, currents and underwater hazards can make a fall into these bodies of water dangerous.
- If you go boating, wear a life jacket! Most boating fatalities occur from drowning.
- Avoid alcohol use. Alcohol impairs judgment, balance and coordination; affects swimming and diving skills; and reduces the body’s ability to stay warm.
Do Not Allow Unsupervised Acces To The Swimming Pool Area:
- Install and use barriers around your home pool or hot tub. Safety covers and pool alarms should be added as additional layers of protection.
- Ensure that pool barriers enclose the entire pool area, are at least 4-feet high with gates that are self-closing, self-latching and open outward, and away from the pool. The latch should be high enough to be out of a small child’s reach.
- If you have an above-ground or inflatable pool, remove access ladders and secure the safety cover whenever the pool is not in use.
- Remove any structures that provide access to the pool, such as outdoor furniture, climbable trees, decorative walls and playground equipment.
- Keep toys that are not in use away from the pool and out of sight. Toys can attract young children to the pool.
Learn What To Do Incase Of Emergency:
- If a child is missing, check the water first. Seconds count in preventing death or disability.
- Know how and when to call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number.
- If you own a home pool or hot tub, have appropriate equipment, such as reaching or throwing equipment, a cell phone, life jackets and a first aid kit.
- Enroll in Red Cross home pool safety, water safety, first aid and CPR/AED courses to learn how to prevent and respond to emergencies.