Accidental drownings are a leading cause of death for children in the United States, and swimming pools are a major risk factor. With a long swimming season and a lot of residential swimming pools in Houston, Texas, accidental drownings in pools are a particular problem. According to a recent article in the Houston Chronicle, there have been at least 10 fatal accidental drownings in pools in Harris County this year alone, including eight children.
These tragedies are a stark reminder of the importance of pool safety. There are several things pool owners and swimmers can do to reduce the risk of drowning, including:
- Install and maintain a pool fence or other barrier around the pool. This is the most important step in preventing children from unsupervised access to the pool.
- Supervise children closely when they are in or near the pool. Never leave a child unattended, even for a few seconds. This means no TikTok, emails, or other tech distractions.
- Teach children to swim and how to be safe around water. This is an important life skill for everyone to have.
- Have a pool safety plan in place and available near the pool. This plan should include emergency contact information and instructions on what to do in the event of a drowning or other accident.
In addition to these general safety tips, there are a few other things that pool owners can do to make their pools safer for swimmers:
- Keep the pool gate closed and locked at all times.
- Remove toys and other objects from the pool area when it’s not in use. This will help to prevent children from being tempted to go into the pool unsupervised.
- Install pool door alarms. These can alert adults if someone accesses the pool without permission.
Even with all of these safety measures in place, accidents can still happen. That is why it is important to be prepared for a drowning emergency. If you see someone who is struggling to stay afloat, the first thing you should do is call 911. Then safely remove them from the water using a life preserver ring or life hook. If you know how to perform CPR you can begin doing so, if necessary, until help arrives.
The tragic effects of accidental drownings are far-reaching. Families are left to deal with the grief of losing a loved one, and survivors may suffer from physical and emotional trauma. That is why it is so important to take steps to prevent drownings from happening in the first place.
By following these pool safety tips, you can help to ensure that your swimming pool is safe and enjoyable for you and your family.