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Bright Futures

Articles and Updates from Phoenix Children's

August 20, 2020
Practicing Pool Safety During COVID-19

Arizona has surpassed its own record-setting weather patterns. To beat the heat, families are retreating to their homes and opting for refreshing swims in their pools. While pools, lakes, rivers and other forms of water play offer countless hours of family fun, we must not forget some basic and fundamental rules of drowning prevention.

Tragically, 12 children die every week from drowning in the U.S. In fact, drowning is the leading cause of death for children 1-4 years old, even more so than car accidents. In the era of COVID-19, water safety has become even more essential. Children are spending increasing amounts of time in their pools as summer activities like team sports, camps, and summer school are cancelled. Sales on inflatable pools and above ground pools have skyrocketed as parents struggle to find ways to keep their kids entertained this summer.

Here are some life-saving drowning prevention rules to follow this summer and around the year:

  • Always have the mindset that a pool (or any body of water) is a clear and constant drowning risk. Never let your guard down.
  • Swimming lessons (starting at the age of 1 year) are an absolute must if your child is going to spend any time around a pool.
  • If you have a pool in your backyard, install a pool fence with a self-closing/self-locking gate that goes around the entirety of the pool. This is a crucial investment as most drownings actually occur outside of swimming time.  It is important to have a barrier restricting pool access at all times.
  • Use the 3 C’s of Pool Supervision:
    • Constant Supervision: Drowning can happen in a matter of seconds. Even walking another child to the bathroom or grabbing a drink from the kitchen is enough time for drowning to occur.
    • Close Supervision: Drowning does not occur as portrayed in the movies with a lot of splashing and yelling. Drowning can be silent. If your child is near or in the pool, you need to be immediately next to the pool.
    • Capable Supervision: Using a 10-year-old sibling is tempting but is not a substitute for adult supervision. Only an adult truly understands the responsibility of pool safety.
  • Do not rely on inflatable arm and waist “floaties” for drowning prevention, as these are primarily toys. Instead, use U.S. Coast Guard approved life jackets. Here is a list of some examples.
  • Enroll in a CPR training course to be as prepared as possible.

Pools can and should be an amazing source of family fun, as well as an escape from the blistering Arizona heat. So head out for a refreshing dip in the pool, but don’t forget your sunscreen or your pool safety tips!

As always, stay safe!

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