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Published on August 01, 2019

kids playing in pool parents watching in background

Water Safety: Tips for Home Pools and Spas

Summer time is a time for water fun! Playing in the pool and enjoying time with extended family can make for great memories. Even though summer is winding down, pool safety should still be a priority..

Some 350 children drown each year and a majority of these children are younger than 5. Drowning is the leading cause of unintentional death for children ages 1-4.

Know the Facts

Supervision is the key to water safety. Very young children can drown in as little as 2 inches of water. If they fall in head first and inhale water, they sometimes do not know enough to or are not physically able to get themselves out of the water.

The following are some things to keep in mind when letting children play in pools and spas at home:

  • Rigid pool or spa covers are one of the best ways to provide safety for young children. These devices can completely cover the water, preventing access. Make sure the cover meets safety guidelines. It should hold the weight of two adults and one child, in case someone has to go out onto the cover to help someone stranded there.
  • Fences that have a locked gate can keep children away from a pool or spa as well. 
  • Consider an alarm system on doors leading to the pool or spa, and motion detectors that sense movement in the water.
  • Be sure your pool has safety devices like a water rescue ring, rope and pole, and know how to use them.
  • Empty your wading pool after each use and turn upside down. Watch for other areas in the yard where water might accumulate. Young children can drown in only 2 inches of water.
  • Designate one person to be the “water watcher” when children are in the pool.
  • Learn CPR and keep current in the techniques.
  • Always have a charged phone near the pool.
  • Swimming lessons are a great idea for children but they do not drown-proof children. Don’t let the fact that your child can swim give you a false sense of security. Children in the pool MUST be supervised by an adult at all times.
  • Keep swimmers hydrated to avoid dizziness and light-headedness.
  • Make sure drains, pipes and openings in pools and spas meet safety regulations; drains should be covered with federally approved drain covers to avoid suction entrapment.
  • Designate one person to be the “water watcher” when children are in the pool.
  • Drowning is silent. There is typically very little splashing, waving, or screaming.

What is a Water Watcher?

We see it all the time – a family reunion at the lake or a birthday at a hotel pool with lots of kids in the water having fun and lots of adults nearby, eating, visiting, and possibly drinking. Everyone assumes all the adults are watching the kids when, in reality, NO ONE is really watching. The Independent Pool and Spa Service Association promotes assigning an official water watcher at any water event. The water watcher agrees to the following:

  • I will devote my complete attention to supervising the children in the water
  • I will not eat, drink, visit, or use the phone while on duty
  • I will not leave the area without finding a replacement
  • I will know how many children are in the pool at all times

Have a wonderful, safe summer!

Live Better. Live Balanced. Avera.

Avera is a health ministry rooted in the Gospel. Our mission is to make a positive impact in the lives and health of persons and communities by providing quality services guided by Christian values.

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