The deaths of two 5-year-old girls in Paulding County are yet another reminder that we have to be vigilant watching our children around pools.
An average of 390 children ages 0-14 die in pool and spa drownings each year. About 5,200 more are treated for injuries in emergency rooms, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission’s Pool Safety Web site. According to the site:
There were 390 annual average number of drowning deaths in children ages 0 to 14 from 2007 to 2009 as reported to the CPSC.
75 percent of deaths involved children under age 5.
67 percent of deaths involved children between ages 1 to 3.
African-American children ages 5 to 14 die from drowning 3 times more often than white children according to the CDC.
According to the chart, Georgia had 11 deaths between the ages of 0 to 14 reported by the media in 2011. South Carolina had 4 and Alabama had 8.
Arizona had 33.
Deaths and injuries are the highest during May to August. “
The counties in Georgia regulate pool safety laws so your county may or may not require fencing. I remember growing up in Gwinnett that everyone had fences around their backyards. This kept random people out of their pools but didn’t keep children in the backyard from falling in. Different insurance companies may also require fences for coverage.
I never wanted to be a pool owner but it’s so unGodly hot in Arizona that almost everyone has a pool. As you can imagine I am fairly worried about kids drowning at my house, and we try to be vigilant. (It’s so scary because drownings happen fast and freak things can happen to children who can swim.)
You are required by law to have a fence or net on your pool (not just around the yard but around the pool!) if children under 6 live there. We have a removable fence that an adult could take down for parties or when the kids are grown. We also have a weighted sliding back door that our 5-year-old cannot open. The big kids have a hard time opening it. She can’t get into the backyard unless someone lets her out and then I have the pool fence around the pool. (But you still have to watch to make sure there is no crazy climbing or the big kids don’t let her inside the fence.)
When we are having a party I make Lilina wear a safety vest even though she can swim. I keep extra safety vests at the house—one in each size — just in case visitors need them. The vests are not a replacement for eyes on the kids but it makes me feel better that if I get distracted or if another kid grabs on to her she won’t go under.
When the kids have pool parties I have the parents fill out a chart so I know who is a strong swimmer and who is not. Then I keep extra close eye on my weaker swimmers.
Last summer a friend gave us a name tag that says “I’m the one watching the kids” because often parents will be chatting assuming someone else is watching the kids. The neighbors also like to have extra adults on hand or higher a dedicated life guard for parties.
I always keep the phone out back in case we need to call 911.
We are doing swim team to help the big kids be stronger swimmers and Lilina is starting her regular summer lessons this week to work on her strokes.
For more information on pool safety check out these links:
Also parents have to be aware of portable pools and even baby pools. Portable pools account for 11 percent of pool drownings for children under the age of 5.
What steps do you take around your home or neighborhood pool to keep kids safe? Share your best tips to prevent drownings this summer.