I have this horrible fear of my children drowning in a pool. We don't have a pool and don't swim on a regular basis. We even built our home around the corner from the small lake in our development, for fear of the water (ok, and all the duck and swan poop that our neighbors with the 'waterfront' views have to deal with in their yards).
So we will put a small splash pool on our deck and install an alarm on the sliding doors out to the deck. The gate to the deck is locked with a padlock to ensure the children cannot climb the deck stairs from the outside and get onto the deck. And no phone or door bell is EVER worth leaving your children alone, if even for 15 seconds.
More than 300 children die every year from drowning in private swimming pools - mostly their own or a close friend, relative or neighbor. 2,000 children end up in the hospital every year from near-drowning.
Here are some FACTS about children and drowning
"-Seventy-five percent of the submersion victims studied by CPSC were between 1 and 3 years old; 65 percent of this group were boys. Toddlers, in particular, often do something unexpected because their capabilities change daily.
-At the time of the incidents, most victims were being supervised by one or both parents. Forty-six percent of the victims were last seen in the house; 23 percent were last seen in the yard or on the porch or patio; and 31 percent were in or around the pool before the accident.
-In all, 69 percent of the children were not expected to be at or in the pool, yet they were found in the water.
Submersion incidents involving children usually happen in familiar surroundings. Sixty-five percent of the incidents happened in a pool owned by the child's family and 33 percent of the incidents happened in a pool owned by friends or relatives.
-Pool submersions involving children happen quickly. A child can drown in the time it takes to answer a phone. Seventy-seven percent of the victims had been missing from sight for 5 minutes or less.
-Survival depends on rescuing the child quickly and restarting the breathing process, even while the child is still in the water. Seconds count in preventing death or brain damage.
-Child drowning is a silent death. There's no splashing to alert anyone that the child is in trouble."
Here are some TIPS to keep everyone safe
*** BARRIERS ***
"The following barrier recommendations are the result of identifying key parameters that typically contribute to child drowning in backyard pools. These recommendations are the minimum steps you can take to make your home a safe place for your child.
Barriers are not childproof, but they provide layers of protection for a child who strays from supervision. Barriers give parents additional time to locate a child before the unexpected becomes a reality.
Barriers include a fence or wall, door alarms for the house, and a power safety cover over the pool. Barriers also may be used to protect children from accessing hot tubs and spas. Use the following recommendations as a guide:
*** FENCES & GATES ***
-Install a fence or other barrier, such as a wall, completely around the pool. If the house is part of the barrier, the doors leading from the house to the pool should be protected with an alarm or the pool should have a power safety cover.
-The fence or other barrier should be at least 4 feet high. It should have no foot or handholds that could help a young child to climb it.
-Vertical fence slats should be less than 4 inches apart to prevent a child from squeezing through."
And remember - Just because your child is a good swimmer does not mean they are safe. And a child can drown in just a few inches of water. It doesn't have to be a deep pool. A shallow baby splash pool should be used with the same caution.
I hope everyone has a happy, healthy and safe summer!