A staggering 350 children under age 5 drown each year in pools. That’s 350 kids too many, and it doesn’t even account for the nearly 3,000 children treated annually in emergency rooms for near-drowning incidents.
What’s scarier? About two-thirds of the drowning accidents occured in the child’s home pool. It’s not happening as often as we think in the big, scary oceans or community pools. They’re happening quickly, quietly, and exceedingly. Here’s what parents need to know.
Every Kid Needs to Learn How to Swim
I’m grateful that my parents threw me into swimming classes starting in my toddler years. At the time, it just seemed like fun- learning how to practice different strokes, jump off the diveboard, and try and compete in races with the kids in my class.
Looking back, I realize just how important these classes were. Today, I’m an avid swimmer- both in pools and in natural bodies of water. With that said, there are plenty of people who did not have the same fortune I did. I do believe that teaching children how to swim is a crucial life skill- one that I intend to implement in my children as young as possible.
CPR is Mandatory
I’ve worked in jobs that require direct human contact for my entire working life. This goes hand-in-hand with regular first-aid and CPR classes. Yes, children need to know the basic swimming techniques and etiquette, but every single guardian should also know how to save a life in case the worst case scenario happens.
Having a backyard party? Great! I have so many happy summer memories spent splashing around in pools- where the mornings stretched into afternoons and the afternoons stretched into those long, hazy nights.
By now, you know that kids cannot swim unattended. But, even if you’re physically there, you also need someone actively watching the scene at all times. This guardian needs to know how to swim competently and also needs to know the basics of CPR.
A child can drown in just seconds- and they can drown in as little as an inch of swimming water.
Follow Hot Tub Protocol
Got a hot tub? I love mine, and could spend every night just sitting in there looking up at the sky, thinking about life.
But chances are, your kids will want to wander in and play around. With that said, the Association of Pool and Spa Professionals (APSP) recommends that children avoid hot tubs until they are tall enough to stand on the bottom of the tub and have their heads fully above the water. Once they are tall enough, maximize time for about five minutes.
Drowning is also a concern in a hot tub, which means that supervision is essential. Finally, even though it’s recommended to keep water temperatures in hot tubs at 104 degrees or lower, you might want to lower it even further to about 98 degrees if children plan on using it.