As summer is upon us and pools begin to open, Safe Kids Carroll County wants to remind you how important it is to be aware of pool safety. Drowning is among the top five leading causes of accidental deaths in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and one in five of these deaths are children ages 14 and under. Not all drownings cause fatality, but they could lead to severe injuries, such as brain damage, resulting in long term disabilities. Many other accidents could result from being in and around the pool, including slips and falls due to damaged property. It is important to make sure pool equipment is not broken and is well-maintained in order to avoid injuries.
Children ages 1-4 have the highest risk. Also, men are at a higher risk of swimming pool fatalities compared to women, no matter the age. Inflatable pools can pose a large risk of drowning, especially to children under the age of 5, due to the flexible sides of the pool and their ability to easily collapse in. It is important to not substitute pool toys such as noodles and inner tubes for a life jacket as a safe flotation device.
To reduce the risk of pool accidents, safety is key. A great way to start is:
- To put in an appropriate four-sided fence around all pools, both in-ground and above ground. This fence should be at least 4 feet high, and should have self-closing and self-latching gates opening outward.
- Beginning swimming lessons at a young age can also be very beneficial for pool safety. By taking swimming lessons, the risk for drowning can be reduced by as much as 88 percent for children ages 1-4 who have the highest risk for drowning, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
- Children should be supervised in and around the pool at all times. Barriers placed around the pool such as fences, locks and alarms could reduce the risk of children drowning.
- Supervision of the children should be done by an adult, not another child. When supervising a child or inexperienced swimmer, one should be within arm's reach and should not be distracted by any other activities such as reading, use of electronic equipment or playing games.
- Knowing CPR is also very helpful to save drowning victims. If CPR is performed quickly, the chance of brain damage can be reduced as well as the chance of death.
Tips to be safe in the pool:
- Supervise children when they are in the water.
- Learn CPR.
- Don't swim alone.
- Avoid pool use in bad weather.
- Wear a flotation device if necessary.
- Avoid horseplay around pool area.
For more information, visit
or visit your local aquatic center for swimming lesson information.