During this past summer, tragedy struck in the majority of states in our country. These tragedies occurred when children fatally drowned in community pools, at backyard pool parties—and they were all preventable. Six states experienced an especially fatal summer according to media reported drownings compiled by the USA Swimming Foundation. The grim list of warm-weather states that experienced double-digit fatal drowning incidents between Memorial Day and Labor Day include: Texas (28), California and Florida (14), Arizona (12), and Alabama and North Carolina (10). Overall, there were at least 205 fatal child drownings across 39 states in swimming pools and spas this summer.
As temperatures remain warm across the country, well past the traditional end of summer, it is imperative that we take simple safety steps to avoid any more tragedies. So, don’t let your state make it to the top of this heartbreaking list. Instead, practice some simple safety steps from Pool Safely’s “Top 10” list:
- Learn how to swim and teach your child how to swim.
- Install a four-foot or taller fence around the entire pool and use self-closing and self-latching gates; ask your neighbors to do the same at their pools.
- Never leave a child unattended in or near a pool or spa and always designate a Water Watcher to supervise children in the pool or spa. This person should not be reading, texting, using a smart phone or be otherwise distracted. Adults can take turns being a Water Watcher.
- If a child is missing, look for him or her in the pool or spa first.
- Keep children away from pool drains, pipes and other openings to avoid entrapments.
- Ensure any public pool or spa you use has drain covers that comply with federal safety requirements, and, if you do not know, ask the pool manager if the facility complies with the “VGB Act.”
- Learn how to perform CPR on children and adults, and update those skills regularly.
- Install and use a lockable safety cover on your spa.
- Have lifesaving equipment such as a life ring, float or fiberglass reaching pole available and accessible.
- Take the Pool Safely Pledge every single year as a family to renew your commitment to water safety.
Check out the map below to see where your state stood in terms of child drownings this summer. Don’t forget to share these “10 tips” to keep your community safer – and help avoid having your state be on this list next year.