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Swimming Pool Safety for Kids
Swimming is the perfect exercise for many children, from the time they are babies. Not only does it work muscles that would otherwise be neglected, it can improve flexibility, posture and balance, as well as reduce anxiety and stimulate endorphins. For children with asthma, it may be the only way to exercise without an asthma attack, and those with physical ailments find the weightlessness of the pool makes swimming relatively painless. It can also be used as a bonding technique between parents and children with developmental difficulties.
But swimming can also be dangerous. Accidental drowning is the third leading cause of accidental death for children in the UK, claiming an average of four hundred lives each year. Although drowning deaths in backyard swimming pools are significantly lower than those in large bodies of water, they are also far more preventable, so why aren’t families doing more to keep their children safe?
When you build a pool in your backyard, you will need to make a number of additional adjustments to ensure that the environment is safe for your own children and pets, as well as anyone who may enter your yard. First, and most importantly, install a safety pool cover to put over the pool at all times when not in use. While it’s not a good idea to walk on these, a genuine safety cover will be able to support a child’s weight if they were to go outside. Safety covers are often installed in runners along the inside of the pool and have the added benefit of reducing the amount of chemicals you’ll need, making your pool water safer throughout everywhere.
Second, build a fence around the pool. Many states in the US have this as a mandatory requirement for backyard pools, but don’t let the lack of laws in this country stop you from implementing this safety device. It must be at least 1.5 meters high and have a child safety gate through which the pool can be accessed, and it will need to be checked approximately once a month to ensure nor integrity. Don’t store anything sturdy enough for kids to climb near the edge of the fence or they could find their way in! If the fence is installed on a non-stick floor, the possibility of someone climbing over and into the pool is greatly reduced.
There are two different types of pool alarm available; one that will go off when someone opens your fence gate and another when something gets into the water. While both are useful, the gate alarm gives you a better chance of stopping whatever comes over your fence from harming your pool. The water pressure alarm can be useful if you have pets that can get over the fence; Animals should not be allowed near the pool at all, partly because of the risk of drowning and partly to keep them away from potentially dangerous chemicals (which should be kept away from them).
But perhaps one of the most important things to consider is the implementation of strict rules in the pool area. Some of these may seem obvious: don’t run, don’t dive, keep life jackets and pool floats around, but there are also factors to consider such as keeping the area tidy from pool toys that may present a hazard stumbled Ideally, set up a pool toy box and teach the kids that everything disappears when they get out of the pool. Children should never swim unsupervised anyway, so as a responsible adult you can make sure they follow the rules. Explain the consequences of being insecure so they understand why they need to be so careful.
National Drowning Prevention Week advocates the “safe” system for both private and public pools, which is as follows:
S – Stain the dangers Watch for hazards, edges, slippery floors and what may be in the water or on the pool floor.
A – take advice. Read the signs if you’re in a public pool, swim close to a lifeguard for help, and unsafe swimmers should always use a buoyancy aid.
F – take one friend. Most swimming accidents happen when someone is swimming alone. If you have friends or family around, someone can get help or help you get out. Always teach children to swim in company
E – know what to do in one emergency. Many parents do not know how to perform CPR and would not know how to save their own child’s life. Learn CPR techniques and the recovery position at a minimum.
Children are much more likely to drown on vacation than at home, so it’s even more important that they understand how to behave around a pool. There are also more fatalities on the first and last days of vacation, when parents are busy and children want to explore. If there are open bodies of water nearby, DO NOT allow your child to go alone.
While it’s fairly uncommon for children to drown in their own pools, it’s more common for them to get hurt from “secondary drowning.” This can happen when an incredibly small amount of water enters the lungs and prevents oxygen from flowing into the bloodstream effectively. 2 cm of water is all that is needed, and it often enters the lungs during “near-drowning incidents”: victims can die anywhere from one to seventy-two hours after the incident.
Look for symptoms that include trouble breathing, coughing, sudden changes in behavior, chest pain, and extreme fatigue. If your child shows any of these 72 hours after being in the water, either because of an incident you witnessed or in just one minute of being unsupervised, take them to the hospital right away. If oxygen does not flow properly to the brain, it can cause tissue damage, leading to brain damage.
Drowning in the home pool is a relatively rare occurrence that only affects a few children each year, but we like to think we can do better, so by following these simple safety steps and instilling the safety message in children from a young age can reduce the number over time until lives are needlessly lost over something as simple as not installing a safety pool cover.
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