Kiddie pools, splash pads, sprinklers and slip n’ slides—these are the makings for low-budget summer fun and relief from the sun!
And to make sure it stays fun, it’s important to remember the guidelines for backyard water safety.
“With family members spending more time at home or even working from home, it’s easy to be more distracted now than ever,” says Jill Lucas, a Carilion Clinic community health educator and the coordinator for Safe Kids Southwest Virginia.
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission reports that there has been a steady rise in fatal child drownings and that most child drownings take place at a child’s home or at a family, friend or neighbor’s home during the summer months.
More than half of those drownings are attributed to a gap in adult supervision. And it’s not just pools that you have to worry about—a child can drown in less than two inches of water.
So how do we help our kids play safely?
Never leave a child unattended in or near water
Always designate an adult to be the water watcher and don’t assume that someone else is doing the watching. The water watcher should be within arm’s length and should not be reading, texting, using their smartphone or be distracted.
Remove water from kiddie pools, tubs and buckets after use
Empty kiddie pools and containers immediately after use and store them upside down so that they don’t collect water. Not only will this help keep your kids safe, but it will also keep your neighborhood pets and animals safe from drowning. An added bonus: no mosquito breeding!
Fence and secure swimming pools
Swimming pools should be completely surrounded by a fence that is at least 4-feet high without any openings more than 4 inches wide. Cover and lock hot tubs, spas and whirlpools after using them.
Use U.S. Coast Guard-approved personal flotation devices
While water wings and noodles are fun toys for kids, they should never be used in place of a U.S. Coast Guard-approved personal flotation device, such as a life jacket.
Learn how to perform CPR
Even if emergency medical services (EMS) are on the way, starting CPR on a child before EMS arrives greatly increases the chance of recovery. The National CPR Foundation and American Red Cross are two of many organizations that offer online CPR training.
Drowning is silent, so it's important to give children your full attention while they're playing in water.
Even during non-swim times, be mindful when visiting a home or location that has a waterfront or pool. And remember to apply and reapply sunscreen that it has SPF (sun protection factor) of at least 15.