With the arrival of summer, children will head toward swimming pools, public and residential, to enjoy their summer days. A recent report issued by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, however, indicates that the average number of drowning deaths involving children younger than 5 years old in pools and spas has increased from a yearly average of 267 (2002-04) to 283 (2003-05).
Furthermore, the report reveals the majority of deaths and injuries occur in residential settings and involve children ages 1 to 2 years old, and that drowning is the leading cause of unintentional death in children ages 1 to 4 years old. To help prevent accidental drowning deaths, particularly involving children, the commission offers the following safety guidelines:
Always look for a missing child in the pool first. Precious time is often lost while looking for missing children elsewhere.
Never leave toys and floats in the pool that can attract young children, and cause them to fall in the water when they reach for the items.
Inspect pools and spas for missing or broken drain covers. Do not allow children in a pool or spa with missing/broken covers. Inserting an arm or leg into the opening can result in powerful suction and total body submersion.
Remove or secure the ladder from an above-ground and inflatable pool, when the pool is not in use.
Be prepared by having rescue equipment and a phone near the pool. Parents should learn cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).