May is National Water Safety Month but water safety awareness is something everyone should be concerned about all year long. It takes only inches of water for a small child to drown so taking extra safety steps at home and around pools, spas and all bodies of water can prevent drowning incidents.
Some facts about young children and drowning:
The majority of deaths and injuries in pools and spas involve children ages 1-2 and occur in residential settings.
Drowning is the leading cause of unintentional death to children ages 1-4.
Drownings occur when there is a short lapse in adult supervision.
Little children drown quickly and silently.
Consumer Protection Safety Commission’s (CPSC) Pool Safely: Simple Steps Save Lives campaign recommends adopting and practicing as many water safety steps as possible. The following safety tips can help to keep children safe.
Rule # 1: Never leave a child unattended around a pool, spa, bath tub or any body of water
At pools, spas and other recreational waters:
Teach children basic water safety skills.
Learn how to swim and ensure your children know how to swim as well.
Avoid entrapment by keeping children away from pool drains, pipes and other openings.
Have a phone close by at all times when visiting a pool or spa.
If a child is missing, look for them in the pool or spa first, including neighbors’ pools or spas.
Share safety instructions with family, friends, babysitters and neighbors.
If you have a pool:
Use self-closing and self-latching gates; ask neighbors to do the same if they have pools or spas.
If your house serves as the fourth side of a fence around a pool, install and use a door or pool alarm.
Maintain pool and spa covers in good working order.
Ensure any pool or spa you use has compliant drain covers; ask if you do not know.
Have lifesaving equipment such as life rings, floats or a reaching pole available and easily accessible.
Install a 4-foot fence around the perimeter of the pool and spa, including portable pools.
Always keep a young child within arm's reach in a bathtub. If you must leave, take the child with you.
Don't leave a baby or young child in a bathtub under the care of another young child.
Never leave a bucket or basin containing even a small amount of liquid unattended. Always empty and store buckets where young children cannot reach them.
Consider placing locks on toilet seat covers in case a young child wanders into the bathroom.
Visit www.PoolSafely.gov for more information. See CPSC’s latest submersion reports: Submersions Related to Non-pool and Non-spa Products, 2011 and Pool and Spa Submersion Report, 2011.