The second leading cause of death for children ages one to 14 is drowning, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Before your family sets out for fun in the sun this summer, it is important to take time to discuss swimming pool safety with your children and refresh your own knowledge of life-saving measures.
“Adults must always be on guard when children are in or near the water. Knowing how to correctly perform CPR can mean the difference between life and death,” said Maury Regional Emergency Medical Services Director Brian Hupp.
Keep these important pool safety rules in mind:
- Designate a responsible adult to monitor children swimming or playing in or near the water. The supervising adult should not be distracted with their phone or other activities or influenced by alcohol use.
- Make certain that infants, toddlers and weak swimmers are within reach at all times.
- Never swim alone and choose pools that have lifeguards on duty if possible.
- Keep a phone close by in case of an emergency.
- Consider enrolling children in formal swimming lessons, but do not develop a false sense of security
- Remove floats, balls and other toys from the pool and surrounding area after swimming to eliminate the temptation to reach into the water for a toy.
- Residential pool owners should install a fence around the entire pool area and consider installing motion detectors and alarms in the pool area.
- Always check the pool area first when a child cannot be immediately located.
- Learn how to perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).
“Anyone who has a swimming pool or supervises children should take the time to learn CPR. In any emergency, the sooner life-saving measures begin, the greater the chances that the outcome will be positive,” said Hupp.
In the event of a potential drowning, have someone call 911 immediately. Until emergency help arrives, begin CPR by placing the heel of one hand on the center of the chest and pushing with both hands hard and fast about 100 times per minute. CPR should be continued until the person regains consciousness or a rescue team arrives.
Brian Hupp is director of Maury Regional Emergency Medical Services (EMS), serving Maury and Lewis counties in southern Middle Tennessee.