Meant to promote water and aquatic safety, drowning prevention, and recreational activity safety, May is recognized as National Water Safety Month. As many families take advantage of time in their pools, it is important to evaluate your children's swimming skills and know what steps to take when it comes to water safety. You should know their strengths, weaknesses, and areas they may need help in when it comes to swimming.
Here are some facts from the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) on drowning:
- From 2005-2014, there was an average of 3,536 fatal unintentional drownings (non-boating related) annually in the United States - about ten deaths per day. An additional 332 people died each year from drowning in boating-related incidents.
- About one in five people who die from drowning are children 14 and younger. For every child who dies from drowning, another five receive emergency care for nonfatal submersion injuries.
- More than 50% of drowning victims treated in emergency departments require hospitalization or transfer for further care (compared with a hospitalization rate of about 6% for all unintentional injuries). These nonfatal drowning injuries can cause severe brain damage which may result in long-term disabilities such as memory problems, learning disabilities, and permanent loss of basic functioning.
With these facts in mind, pool safety should be atop of your priority list. Please consider these 5 pool safety tips:
- Supervise children at all times when in or out of the pool. Even if your children are playing around the pool, they still need your undivided attention in case of a slip or fall.
- Be prepared for an emergency. CPR classes are available year-round. It's simple, all you need to do is search online for a class near you. Learning basic rescue skills could save your child's life, or even someone else's. Although the ambulance is called, it does not necessarily mean it can wait. Many rescues are successful because of someone using CPR until the ambulance arrives.
- Teach your children how to swim. Of course, they may not be professional swimmers right away, but enrolling them in swimming lessons could be a game-changer. Should they ever find themselves in trouble, they could apply those skills in a calm manner to get themselves out (or at least hang on until help arrives). Basic skills such as treading water and floating are a must if they are to be trusted in the water without a floatation device or other assistance.
- Clear toys from the pool after swimming. Smaller children are more likely to follow a ball or toy straight into the pool. Some will even try so hard to reach their toys, they end up falling in unintentionally. If no one is around to help, or witness, there could be a fatal result. It is important to bring all toys inside to avoid temptation.
- Make it clear to your children: Needing help isn't embarrassing! Some children may be tempted to remove their floatation devices because the other children in the pool are without it. If your child is very hesitant to wear their life jacket and they know the basics of swimming (as listed above), try an alternative, like a pool noodle, boogie board, or floating ring they can hold onto while strengthening their swimming. You will need to keep a very close eye on them, but at least it will encourage them to become stronger, instead of ditching the floating devices completely.
We hope you will keep these pool safety tips in mind around the pool. As your homeowners insurance carrier, we understand accidents occur. Should the unexpected happen we would like to remind you your homeowners insurance policy includes personal and medical liability coverages to protect you. To learn more about liability coverages or to increase your coverage limits, contact your agent or contact us at 866-568-8922.