Every year, 1,000 or more children in the U.S. die as a result of drowning. More than one half of these children are 0 to 4 years of age. Most drownings are related to residential pools – both in private residences and in multi-family communities.
According to Stacie Durham, Public Information Officer for the McKinney Fire Department, two thirds of all drownings happen between the months of May and August. “As many as 70% of preschoolers who drown are in the care of one or both parents at the time of the drowning and have been missing from sight for five minutes or less. Most of these incidents occur on Saturday or Sunday.”
Simple precautionary steps save lives. Some recommendations include:
-- Always have a “Water Watcher” – an adult who knows how to swim - assigned to watch over children in the pool. Make sure this person recognizes the seriousness of this responsibility.
-- Always have a phone poolside to call 9-1-1. Be sure your address is clearly posted on or near the phone, in case a guest is responsible for placing the emergency call.
-- Make sure all family members 13 years and older know CPR.
-- Don’t assume that children are drown-proof just because they know how to swim.
-- Surround the pool with a fence a minimum of 60 inches tall.
-- Install self-closing, self-latching gates, which open away from the pool.
-- Install alarms on all doors, windows, and pet doors leading to the pool area. Doors should be self-closing and self-latching.
-- Never leave toys in and around the pool when not in use.
-- If a child is missing, check the pool first. Seconds count!
To assist in checking the safety of your residential pool, the McKinney Fire Department is happy to provide you with a “Residential Pool & Spa Safety Checklist.” Visit the Fire & Life Safety Education Section at www.mckinneyfire.org or call 972-547-2850 to request a copy.