Safety Tips from the Heart of America Metro Fire Chiefs Council
Swimming Pool Safety
Childhood drowning ranks third nationwide for deaths of toddlers between the ages of one and four years. Most drowning and near drowning occurs in the backyard pool at the parents, relatives or a friends home. Children are often last seen napping or playing indoors while the adult caretaker was nearby but momentarily distracted. It is the momentary lapse in continuous supervision when the tragedy usually occurs. In one study, up to 79 percent of pool owners recalled a near-drowning episode in their pool, with 83 percent of those incidents involving young children. Remember that no child is water-safe even if he or she knows how to swim.
Preventative measures around the pool area
- Mount lifesaving flotation devices near the pool.
- Post a 911 sticker on the phone and always keep it near the pool area.
- Place appropriate fencing and self-closing latches around a pool. Keep gates locked on the pool perimeter when the pool is not in use.
- Keep chairs, ladders, tables, and any other items that can be used to climb away from pool fences.
- Keep doors leading from the residence to the pool area secured at all times.
Ways to avoid accidents
- Learn how to swim.
- Always swim with another person.
- Never allow children to play around pool areas unattended and keep toys away from the pool.
- Supervise all children involved in water play and keep a watchful eye on children that are younger and need attention.
- Don’t leave children unattended to answer the telephone or the front door. Have children leave the pool area if you have to leave the area for any reason.
- Don't run on the pool deck.
- Don’t play around the edge of a pool.
- One diver on the diving board at a time.
- Don't dive headfirst into shallow water.
- Never swim under a diving board.
- Never jump on someone in the water.
- Never push someone into the pool.
- Don’t allow pets near the pool as they can knock a child into the water.
- Keep pool chemicals safely stored away from children.
Summon help when
- Someone is struggling in the water.
- Someone has trouble breathing in the water.
- Someone has disappeared in the water.
- Someone is found floating in the water.
- Someone is out of the water but has trouble breathing.
- Someone in the water is crying for help.
Ways to help
- Throw a flotation device or use a long pole to help someone struggling. You could become a victim by jumping in to rescue a panic stricken person.
- Find an adult and report the problem if one is nearby.
- Call 911 for assistance. Don't hang up until you are told do so and listen for instructions.
- Learn CPR. Contact the American Red Cross or the Fire Department for assistance in scheduling a class.
Floyd Peoples, Chief Fire Marshal, Kansas City, Mo., Fire Department, 816-784-9100
Heart of America Metro Fire Chiefs Council, 9550 W. 95th St., Overland Park, Kan. 66212