Health Department

Pool Safety

Pool Safety

by Larry Jones, MPH, Health Director

June 4, 2012

It is pool season and many people are going to be hitting the pools to beat the heat. Having access to a swimming pool is a great source of summer fun and exercise, but you also need to think about ways to prevent pool injuries. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), drowning is the leading cause of injury death among children 1–4 years old. Every day, 10 people die from drowning and two of those 10 are children under the age of 15 years. We have to practice safety to ensure everyone in or near the water remains safe.

Even in public pools with trained lifeguards, accidents can happen. To prevent drowning make sure to keep an eye on your children and follow these safety tips:

An adult should actively watch children at all times while they are in a pool. For infants and toddlers, an adult should be in the water and within arm’s reach, providing “touch supervision.” For older children, an adult should be paying constant attention and free from distractions such as talking on the phone, socializing, tending household chores, or drinking alcohol. The supervising adult should know how to swim and CPR.

Children need to learn to swim. One of the best things a parent can do is to get swim lessons for their child. Keep in mind that children develop at different rates and each child will be ready to swim at his or her own rate. If you are interested in swimming lessons, contact the Independence Parks and Recreation Department at 325-7843.

If you have your own pool, here are some simple things that the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends:

· Keep toys away from the pool when the pool is not in use.

· Empty blow-up and other small outdoor play pools after each use.

· No tricycles or other riding toys at poolside.

· No electrical appliances near the pool.

· No diving in a pool that is not deep enough.

· No running on the pool deck.

· Using a pool alarm to alert you if someone has entered the pool.

In Independence, city ordinance states that all swimming pools which contain 12 inches or more of water at any point must meet the following requirements:

Be completely enclosed by a 6-foot fence or other 6-foot high structure.

Gates must be self-latching and inaccessible from the outside to small children.

All fences on the premises shall be structurally sound and constructed of customary or normal fencing material.

Easy Set (soft sided and metal frame) pools are also subject to the swimming pool code.

Now that the summer swim season has started, we need to remind all families about these simple water-safety steps they can take to ensure they are safe this summer and year-round. Adding just one extra safety step around the water can make all the difference. You never know which safety step will save a life - until it does.

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