Pool and water safety for families with children

The drowning death of 2-year-old Bronner Burgess on Saturday is an enormous loss and we at CBB send our heartfelt condolences to Bronner’s parents, Rick and Sherri Burgess. Their pain is simply unimaginable. Sadly, the Burgesses aren’t the only celebrity family to experience this kind of tragedy. Hunter Tylo’s son Michael ‘Mickey’ Tylo died in October after suffering a seizure and falling into the family pool, and a 4-year-old drowned at a pool party thrown by Tommy Lee for his son Brandon in 2001. Water safety is something that we should all be familiar with — whether you are a pool owner or simply someone who loves a child.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, drowning is the second-leading cause of injury-related death for children under the age of 15 and the Orange County California Fire Authority reports that a swimming pool is 14 times more likely than a motor vehicle to be involved in the death of a child 4 and under. With statistics as staggering as these, it’s important to be familiar with all the ways we can minimize the danger that is always present wherever there are children and water.

The American Academy of Pediatrics offers the following guidelines for maintaining pool safety.

  • Never leave your children alone in or near the pool, even for a moment. An adult who knows CPR should actively supervise children at all times.
  • Practice touch supervision with children younger than 5-years. This means that the adult is within an arm’s length of the child at all times.
  • Put up a fence to separate your house from the pool. Most young children who drown in pools wander out of the house and fall into the pool. Install a fence at least 4-feet high around all 4 sides of the pool. This fence will completely separate the pool from the house and play area of the yard. Use gates that self-close and self-latch, with latches that are higher than your child’s reach.
  • Keep rescue equipment (such as a shepherd’s hook or life preserver) and a telephone by the pool.
  • Do not use air-filled ‘swimming aids’ as a substitute for approved life vests.
  • Remove all toys from the pool after use so children aren’t tempted to reach for them.
  • After the children are done swimming, secure the pool so they can’t get back into it.
  • A power safety cover that meets the standards of the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) may add to the protection of your children but should not be used in place of the fence between your house and the pool. Even fencing around your pool and using a power safety cover will not prevent all drowning.

Do you have a pool and small children? Do you employ any additional safety measures not listed above?

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