Stay safe around swimming pools (2024)

Pool season is here, and the sounds of people playing in the water are a sure sign that the summer season is really heating up.

But the fun of playing in the water can quickly turn tragic.

Almost 400 children younger than age 5 drown every year in swimming pool accidents across the country, and more than 3,200 go to a hospital emergency room after a near drowning.

A child can drown in 2 inches of water in under five minutes and never make a sound. Children ages 1 to 4 have the highest drowning rates — according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more children between those ages die from drowning than any other cause of death except for birth defects. Fatal drowning remains the second-leading cause of unintentional injury-related death for children ages 1 to 14 years, the CDC says.

And, according to the American Red Cross, 69 percent of young children who drown were not expected to be in or near water. That makes it important to check water first when a child is missing.

Children aren’t the only group at risk from drowning — the CDC reports there are 4,000 fatal accidental drownings in the United States each year. That’s an average of 11 every day. In addition, the CDC adds, there are 8,000 nonfatal drownings. And the cost of those incidents can be steep — nearly 40 percent of drownings treated in emergency departments require hospitalization or transfer for further care, and drowning injuries can cause brain damage or other serious outcomes.

In our region, the CDC reports that the number of drowning deaths each year per 100,000 people in Ohio is 1.14. In Pennsylvania, it’s 0.81 and in West Virginia it is 1.36. The national rate is 1.31.

A pool in the backyard is a great way to beat the heat and allow everyone in the family to have fun. But pool owners need to practice safety to ensure everyone in or near the pool remains safe.

Parents can take children to swim classes at an early age. A child should not have to rely upon noodles or other flotation devices to stay above water. Even with swimming classes, young children should never be left alone unsupervised in a pool. According to statistics from the Children’s Safety Network, formal swimming lessons can reduce the risk a child between the ages of 1 and 4 will drown by 88 percent.

Pool owners need to have a checklist of safety gear that needs to be near the pool at all times. The list should include a ring buoy and reach pole. A first aid kit and cell phone, with a complete list of emergency contact numbers, also need to be readily available.

Pools should be surrounded by an appropriate fence, and the fence should have a self-closing, self-locking gate lock when the pool isn’t in use or supervised. A secure cover also is a good idea to keep children from falling in while adults aren’t present. The Red Cross said it is important to install anti-entrapment drain covers with safety release systems.

Visiting children should be closely watched. A curious child can sneak away to look at the pool while parents are busy talking, so check the pool first if a child is missing.

For above-ground pools, steps and ladders to the pool should be secured or removed when the pool is not in use. And, in any case, pool owners need to remember that the things used to maintain the pool can present a danger: Injuries from pool chemicals, for instance, result in about 4,500 visits to an emergency room each year.

A trip to a lake or swimming hole can be just as dangerous, if not more, because young children can vanish in a matter of seconds. Don’t take chances at swimming holes and never dive headfirst into the water. In fact, the CDC reports that 40 percent of drownings among children 5-14 occur in natural water and 30 percent occur in swimming pools, and more than half of fatal and nonfatal drownings among those 15 and older occur in lakes, rivers or oceans. And, nearly 80 percent of those who die are males.

Adults also need to remember that alcohol and swimming never mix — nearly 70 percent of deaths associated with water recreation are alcohol-related — and to keep an eye to the sky for approaching bad weather.

Enjoy the pool or lake this summer — just make sure to play it safe.

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Stay safe around swimming pools (2024)


Stay safe around swimming pools? ›

Doors and gates should be closed and locked. Keep things that children can climb on, like chairs, away from pool fences and gates. Have a professional regularly inspect your pool or spa for entrapment or entanglement hazards. Teach children how to swim when they are old enough.

What are the three rules of water safety around swimming pools? ›

Pool Safety
  • Walk, don't run. The number one pool safety rule is to never, ever run near a swimming pool. ...
  • Listen to instructions and obey pool rules. ...
  • No diving in the shallow end. ...
  • No roughhousing. ...
  • Don't play around drains and covers. ...
  • Never swim alone. ...
  • Sun safety is part of the deal. ...
  • Use pool safety equipment properly.

How to keep kids safe around the pool? ›

Doors and gates should be closed and locked. Keep things that children can climb on, like chairs, away from pool fences and gates. Have a professional regularly inspect your pool or spa for entrapment or entanglement hazards. Teach children how to swim when they are old enough.

How can we stay safe around water? ›

Never swim alone; swim with lifeguards and/or water watchers present. Wear a U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket appropriate for your weight and size and the water activity. Always wear a life jacket while boating, regardless of swimming skill. Swim sober.

How to reduce the effect of chlorine on skin? ›

Showering before swimming might seem counterintuitive, but getting your skin and hair properly wet before getting in the pool will actually lessen the amount of chlorine they absorb. We also recommend showering immediately after swimming and moisturizing regularly, which helps make the skin stronger.

Does coconut oil protect skin from chlorine? ›

Use Coconut Oil Before Swimming

Your skin is protected against chlorine by the awesome-sounding “acid mantle,” a layer of oil and acidic moisture that neutralizes alkaline chlorine. Coconut oil is gently acidic and strengthens this barrier against a long swim.

What is the most effective pool safety? ›

Isolation fencing separates the pool or spa from the house. Isolation fences are specially designed so that children cannot easily get over, under or through them. Make sure all fence gates and ladders leading to a pool or spa are self-closing and self-latching, with latches above the child's reach.

What are the golden rules of water safety? ›

Obey Pool and Water Safety Rules

No running, eating, gum, or glass containers. Exit the pool at the first sign of thunderstorms or lightning. If there is no lifeguard or supervising adult, wait to swim.

What type of pool fence is best? ›

Vinyl pool fences are durable, easy to clean and offer a huge range of styles to choose from. While a properly installed and well maintained wood fence can last you upwards of 15 years, wood as a material is subject to breakdown by the elements and will eventually need some type of repair or resealing.

How to swim careful with our family? ›

Water safety tips for parents and caregivers
  1. 1: Designate a water watcher every single time children are in or near the water. ...
  2. Learn CPR. ...
  3. 3: Make sure every member in the family learns water survival skills. ...
  4. 4: Avoid inflatable swimming aids (e.g., floaties) ...
  5. 5: Enforce basic water safety rules.

What are the three water safety rules? ›

Wear your life jacket. Obey all hazard signs. Swim in safe or designated areas only and by a lifeguard.

What is the most important rule of water safety in child care? ›

Any time children are around any body of water – whether it's a lake or a bathtub – they must be constantly supervised by a trusted adult, even if they are wearing or using flotation devices. Drowning is the leading cause of unintentional, injury-related death among children ages 1 to 4.

Does vaseline protect skin from chlorine? ›

Applying petroleum jelly, such as Vaseline, to areas that are irritated before going into a pool. This provides a protective barrier between your skin and the water. It will also work with a thin layer of natural oil (i.e. avocado, almond, jojoba, argan, or coconut oil).

How to protect yourself from chlorine water? ›

Apply a sunscreen and reapply often when you go in the water. Wash off thoroughly after swimming in chlorinated pools, using specialized shampoos that help to eliminate chlorine on skin. Apply generous amounts of moisturizer to dry skin, but avoid using any scented products on inflamed or cracked skin.

How do professional swimmers protect their skin from chlorine? ›

It might seem counter-intuitive, but getting your skin and hair properly wet before getting in the pool will lessen the amount of chlorine they absorb. Pat your skin dry with a soft towel, but leave it ever so slightly damp. Apply a barrier cream, salve or oil all over. Wear a swimming cap or goggles.

How to prevent UTI from swimming pool? ›

A UTI occurs when bacteria travels up the urethra and travels through the urine into the bladder. The offending bacteria can come from icky pool water, not showering after, or from sitting around in a damp bathing suit. Prevention: Shower after swimming and change out of wet suits or clothes as soon as possible.


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