Monday, August 10, 2009

Pool Safety

Hot summer days are the perfect time to cool off at the pool. FAMILY Magazine has a great list of area water parks and spraygrounds. You can find it on this link.

But with drowning the second leading cause of accidental death among children ages one to fourteen, just how safe is summer fun in the water?

Today Amy Bevins, Assistant Editor of Washington FAMILY Magazine, shared some pool safety tips during WUSA9’s DC Moms Like Me segment.

Most of us know about having locked fences around pools and completely removing pool and hot tub covers so kids don’t become trapped under them. But what else can you do to keep your kids safe?

Amy offers a number of other measures that make summer even safer.

Vigilance is the number one way to keep your kids safe. Most young children who drown in pools or hot tubs have been out of sight for less than five minutes. It can’t be said often enough, you have to watch your kids around water.

With infants and toddlers, use “touch supervision” meaning you are always within an arm’s length.

If a babysitter takes your child to the pool, make sure he or she knows about pool safety and the need for constant supervision.

Keep in mind that you don’t have to have an in ground pool to practice pool safety. Children can drown in as little as one inch of water. So think about inflatable and baby pools. Either fence or drain them when you are not using them.

With any size pool or hot tub, keep a phone nearby so you don’t leave your child unsupervised while running inside to answer it and so it’s right there for emergencies. Also keep a list of emergency phone numbers near the pool or hot tub.

What if you are lucky enough to have a pool at home? Are there any extra safety measures?

Amy notes:

Make sure toys are out of the pool after playtime to lessen the chance of a child falling in while reaching for a toy.

Keep chairs and tables away from the pool fence so that kids can’t climb the fence to get in to the pool.

And if your child is missing, always check the pool first. Every second counts!

Recently, there has been a lot in the news about the safety of pool and hot tub drains.
Because of the danger of kids being trapped underwater by the pool drain suction, federal legislation, known as The Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act, was enacted to help ensure all public pools and spas have safety-compliant drain covers and anti-entrapment systems. The safety act was passed into law in December of 2007 and is named for a 7 year old girl who died in 2002 after being trapped underwater by the powerful suction of a hot tub drain.
Amy notes that it is critical to teach your kids to stay away from pool and hot tub drains.

According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, the pressure on some pool drains can be as strong as 300 pounds per square inch.

To keep safe, kids should tie back long hair, remove jewelry, make sure their arms, legs and heads stay clear of the drains and not sit on drains. This goes for public as well as private pools and hot tubs.

If you do have a pool or hot tub, clearly label the circuit breaker in case it needs to be turned off in an emergency.

And remember, these tips apply to any pool from community pools to hot tubs in the backyard. Even if you don’t own a pool, your child may play with kids who do or their camp or daycare may take them to the pool. Be sure to teach them about the dangers of pool drains and pool safety.

Also be sure to visit Washington FAMILY Magazine’s website,, for a list of top local pools and spraygrounds where you and your family can cool off this summer. Know of a great place to get wet that isn’t listed, let us know and we’ll add it to our ever-growing list.

So let’s get this conversation going. What do you do to ensure your kids are safe at the pool?

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