On a sizzling summer day, there’s nothing better than taking a refreshing plunge in a swimming pool to cool off. However, that private oasis in your backyard can become a big safety hazard for children.
Despite continued efforts by authorities to keep recreation places safe for swimmers, incidents of drowning have been reported at beaches, homes, and public swimming pools across the UAE.
According to the World health Organization (WHO), “drowning is a leading cause of injury death for young children ages 1 to 4, and the fifth leading cause of unintentional injury death for people of all ages.” For toddlers (children ages 1 to 4 years), swimming pools pose the greatest risk of submersion injury. In fact, it takes less than two inches of water for a young child to drown.
However, by following a few simple tips, you help to ensure your children are safe as they enjoy swimming during their summer holiday.
1- Build a Pool Fence
A recent report issued early this year by the Abu Dhabi Department of Health for the period between 2015 and 2016 on preventable child deaths, drowning, falls, and burns are among the main causes of death among children.
One of the most effective safety measures pool owners can take, is to build a fence around their pool. A fence will form a protective barrier to keep children out of the water when an adult is unavailable to supervise them.
There is always the potential for a child to move objects and climb over the fence. So the taller you can build your fence the better. However, pool fences should be at least 1.5 meters high. Additionally, any gates should open away from the pool and be self-closing, self-latching, and lockable.
2- Always Supervise Children
Actively supervise children whenever they are around the water, even if lifeguards are present. It is the lifeguards’ job to ensure the safety of all pool or beach users, not to watch your children; that is your job Whether you are at the public pool, a beach, or at your private pool, always designate a responsible adult to supervise. Be sure to actively watch your children as they stay. Remain within arm’s reach of young children and avoid distractions when supervising children around water.
3- Safely Store Chemicals
Pool chemicals help protect swimmers by killing germs in the water, but they can also lead to injury. When improperly mixed or handled without using protective gear, these chemicals can prove deadly.
As with any chemical, store pool chemicals in a safe and secure area to ensure they are not accidentally inhaled or ingested.
4- Be on the Lookout for Slip Hazards
Be sure the area surrounding your swimming pool is safe. Install slip-proof material and keep the area around the pool clutter free. Both children and adults can trip on objects and fall into the water, which can lead to injuries that impact their ability to swim. Make sure toys, floats, and cleaning equipment are safely stored away from the pool when they are not in use.
5- Establish Pool Safety Rules
Establish pool rules and enforce them! Educate your children and loved ones on what pool behavior is acceptable. Consider creating a list of “official” pool rules that includes basic instructions, such as:
- Walk, do not run
- Do not dive into shallow water
- Do not push or shove anyone into the pool
- Do not swim without adult supervision
- Do not dunk or hold anyone underwater
6- Teach Your Children How to Swim
Children need to learn to swim. A study conducted by America’s National Institute of Health reveals that “participating in formal swimming lessons is associated with an 88% reduction in the risk of drowning in children aged 1 to 4 years.” Additionally, if your child is not a strong swimmer, have them wear a protective life jacket while they swim.
7- Learn First Aid
Knowing first aid and CPR can save the life of someone who drowns. In the event of a medical emergency, first aid is the initial assistance provided to a child or individual while waiting for the medical professionals to arrive. In the worst of cases, first aid can be the difference between life and death.
At HSS, we offer First Aid training courses in accordance with the Health and Safety laws. Our first aid courses provide hands-on training to ensure all participants are competent in administering the treatment and care necessary to save lives in the event of a medical emergency.
We also offer lifeguard training courses. So if your apartment, community or public pool does not have a lifeguard, let us know and we will contact the facilities management and make sure they put trained lifeguards there for your protection this summer.
Contact a member of our team to learn more about our first aid training courses. Enjoy a safe and fun summer holiday!