Nothing says summer like a refreshing dip in the pool. Memorial Day, while we take time to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice to keep America free, also marks the unofficial start of summer.
As children are counting down that last assignment before the end of another grade and parents are finalizing family summer plans. Poolside is usually on the to do list for all. However, while kids can't wait to do that first dive in the pool, parent's are thinking more about safety.
While meeting a fellowshipping with the wonderful families at the Atlanta Teach Them Diligently Conference a few weeks ago, a lady came up to use with tears in her eyes. It was the first anniversary of the death of a child who had drowned in the family pool.
"It was only a split second." The child had wondered off and fell in the pool. The parents were looking throughout the house for the baby, but did not should have see the tiny opening in the back door that lead to the pool. According to the CDC, approximately 4000 people drown unintentionally each year. Twenty percent of those drownings are children under 14 years of age.
To reduce the risk of poolside causalities, here are some suggestions from the American Red Cross regarding summer pool safety.
1- Make sure there is a safety barrier around the pool. The standard in most areas is a 4 foot barrier. This barrier is usually a fence or a self closing, self latching gate, but the barrier can be a raised pool or deck.
2- Do not assume people can swim, just because he/she says they can. Don't be afraid to ask guest about their swimming background. Where did they learn to swim and who was the instructor. Self taught and being thrown in the pool are not good answers.
3- Keep young children at arms length at all times. It only takes a split second for a child to go underwater. Always have a responsible adult present while people are swimming.
Young and inexperienced swimmers should wear approved life jackets. Floats may give a false sense of security.
4- Go over basic pool safety with your guest along with house rules. While this may not be the highlight of the day, it is a necessity. Some rules to consider is to have a swim buddy, as well as no diving, avoiding drains that suction, and walking, not running around the pool.
5- Make sure the pool is clean and clear and the pool chemical are at the proper level. Pool chemicals that are too high can lead to irritation. Chemical consistency too low can lead to infections. Also make sure the water is properly filtering and circulating.
6- Make sure at least one person present is up to date on their CPR and First Aid training in case of an accident.
Module 6 in our book Medical Science 101 for Homeschool Students assist our students with the basics of CPR and First Aid. However, CPR certification must be completed in your local area.