In Massachusetts, around 29% of unintentional drownings for youth younger than 18 years old occurred in swimming pools. Drowning is swift and silent — there is often no struggle, splashing, or cry for help. It can take as few as 20 seconds to sink below the water and only minutes to drown. If you own a pool, you have the power to make sure everyone is safe while swimming and playing in the water. Follow these tips to learn how to keep everyone safe in the pool:
- Always supervise children in and around water at all times.
- If in a large group of adults, create a schedule of water watchers.
- Install a four-sided pool fence that completely separates the house and play area of the yard from the pool area.
- Keep children away from pool fences to make sure they don’t climb on them. Chain link fences are easy for most young children to climb.
- Use a gate that closes and latches by itself whenever it is opened, and make sure it is on the inside of the gate, out of reach of small children.
- Consider additional barriers, such as automatic door locks or alarms, to prevent access or notify you if someone enters the pool area.
- Make your pool drains safe. You can install special drain covers or a safety vacuum release system (SVRS) to keep children from getting pulled and trapped into the pool drain.
- When children are done swimming, remove floats, balls, and other toys from the pool so that children are not tempted to reach for them.
- Secure the pool so children cannot get back in.
- Keep rescue equipment (such as a shepherd's hook or life preserver) and a phone by the pool in case of an emergency
- Teach everyone in your house how to dial 911 in an emergency
- Learn CPR. CPR classes are offered by the American Red Cross, local hospitals, and many other organizations.