Guest post by Vee Cecil
Summer may be officially over, but the risk of drowning doesn’t end with it. In fact, it happens at such a high rate that, according to the National Safety Council, 7,000 people die from drowning each year. And here’s another statistic from the NSC that should give parents pause: it is the leading cause of death for children under 5.
As many backyard and community pools close, now is a great time to assess what changes can be made to help prevent drownings in the off-season and beyond. Here are a few suggestions:
Install a pool fence. First off, you may need to install a pool fence because it’s required by law in your area. Signs.com provides a great overview of the pool fence-related state-by-state regulations. And even if you aren’t required by law to put up a pool fence, it’s such a valuable safety barrier that it’s definitely something you should consider. This article on pool fences explains the different materials that can be used to build them, including aluminum, stainless steel, vinyl, and more, and touches on the associated costs.
Remove toys from your pool area. As KidsHealth.org notes, during pool season, it’s always a good idea to remove toys from the pool once you’re done swimming. That way no little ones will be tempted to grab for a toy they see floating in the pool. Similarly, during the off season, be sure to remove all toys from your pool area. Even if they seem like they’re stored in a safe spot if they’re inside your pool’s enclosure, a child might find their way in and accidentally end up in the pool. When there are no toys around your pool, a child will be less tempted to enter that area.
Invest in a high-quality pool cover. It’s absolutely essential that your pool be covered in the off season. Covering your pool is one of the easiest ways to help prevent drownings. But the wrong kind of cover can be a danger. For example, as this article explains, if a cover isn’t strong enough, a child might fall in and become trapped under it. It suggests installing a “power operated pool cover” in lieu of unsafe floating and solar covers.
Take stock of safety items. There are certain safety items that we’re all used to seeing around the pool, e.g. safety rings and dividing rope. But chances are you installed them when you got them, and if you’ve been lucky enough to avoid an emergency situation at your pool, you’ve probably not thought much about them since then. But the off season is the perfect time to give them a once over to make sure they’re still in good shape. If you discover that any of these items aren’t up to snuff, then go ahead and invest in new ones so that you’ll be ready once next summer rolls around.
While drowning statistics are alarming, it’s important to remember that every drowning is preventable. When we take steps during the off season to make our pools safer, we can play an essential role in keeping, not only our own children, but other children in our neighborhoods and communities much safer.
Vee Cecil keeps busy by being a wellness coach, personal trainer and bootcamp instructor in Kentucky. She also recently launched a blog where she shares her passion for health by writing about her favorite tips, activities and recipes.