If you own a pool or spa, this is one article you need to read and re-read every year. This tragedy is ageless. It can happen to anyone, anytime and is totally preventable. If a child will be in your home anytime, you need to be aware of child drowning hazards.
Let's start with a story. His name is Jasper Ray and he is your typical, curious little boy. One day his babysitter took him from his home to her home which had a swimming pool without a safety gate net. She only left him alone for minutes inside her house, but curious little Jasper was found face down at the bottom of the swimming pool. This is how this cautionary tale becomes an absolute nightmare. This story tears me up whenever I visualize that little boy not moving at the bottom of the pool. The most painful part of this is that it could have been prevented.
Install A Professional Pool Safety Gate or Net
Install a professionally made pool safety gate or net. There are many details people don't know when they try to make their own pool safety gates. I have heard incidents where kids were able to get through due to bad latching of the gate and other vulnerable areas (too low, not solid, no spring, handle within reach of child etc.) Read our article about pool safety gates to learn more and see more options.
The next tip is to WATCH YOUR CHILDREN LIKE A HAWK! They can build their own ladders and come up with plans to open up the gate door or climb over. Be alert and understand that children drown fast and silent. You will not hear them under water!
Teach your Children to Swim A.S.A.P.
From my own experience as an owner of a pool service and a swimming pool, I knew that my children had to learn to swim A.S.A.P. They were enrolled in a swim school at the age of 1 which focused on teaching the child to get to a safe place in the event of falling in the pool.
They are now 5 and 10 and are great, little swimmers, but that does not mean I no longer have to worry. We all have family and friends who have children. This is why you need to make your pool yard safe regardless if your children can swim.
My next tip is to make sure children cannot open your yard entry doors from inside the house. Without fail, make sure they are locked and that a child cannot open them. If they cannot gain entry into your pool yard, they cannot drown in the pool!
Child Drowning Occurs at Pool Parties
Child drowning can also happen right before your eyes! We have heard stories of old painted and fiberglass pools where the paint or finish starts to erode into the water while people are swimming. The pools get cloudy and the adults do not notice the child at the bottom of the pool until everyone gets out.
Pools can also get cloudy if they have little to no chlorine or filter issues. 20 kids in a warm pool can strip out quite a bit of chlorine and chorine tablet dispensers may not dissolve fast enough to keep up with big bathing loads. Make sure you have enough chlorine in the pool before parties and watch that water clarity to make sure you can see kids under water!
Permanent Lifeguards Help Prevent Child Drowning
This leads me into swim parties. Have a permanent water watcher! Someone has to be the lifeguard at all times during pool parties. Kids can hit their heads, get trapped underneath big items or other kids, dive in the shallow area, etc. Someone has to monitor the pool at all times. Also, learn cpr and know who knows cpr at your parties.
We had a party once where our little 3 year old at the time was not a good swimmer yet. She could move to safety in swim class, but not exactly ready for a real swim test if avoidable. She got so excited when all the other kids jumped in the pool that she forgot to put her swim ring on which keeps her floating at the top of the pool. My wife saw this and yelled "SHE CAN'T SWIM!" One of our good, heroic friends jumped in the pool with his clothes, wallet, cellular, and all and rescued her. I forever feel indebted to our friend Jason Scholz for this. He would not let me reimburse him for that cell phone either. These child drownings happen very fast and are easy to miss. YOU NEED TO BE AWARE AND CAUTIOUS ESPECIALLY WHEN CHILDREN ARE SWIMMING OR IN THE POOL YARD!!
Child Drowning Prevention List:
- Buy a professionally designed pool safety gate/net
- Make sure your backyard fence gate latches and closes. Install a 2nd gate behind the first gate if possible.
- Lock your gate or at least one if you have multiple gate entries into your backyard
- Make it impossible for children to get out of your house into your pool yard
- During parties or swim time, have a lifeguard at all times. They must constantly watch all the swimmers in the pool.
- ALWAYS WATCH YOUR CHILDREN AND BE ALERT!!
- Teach your children to swim and/or float to safety A.S.A.P. IF YOU HAVE A POOL OR NOT!
This is one of those subjects that is hard to explore with customers as some may be offended. We are not claiming anyone is unaware or not acting responsibly. We are just pointing out that child drowning can happen anywhere, anytime and is a subject that needs constant repetition. One must merely think about cute little Jasper to know what every child's life is worth. Help us prevent another child drowning by sharing and spreading this message of safety and caution.
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