How Grandparents Can Practice Water Safety
By Nikki Fleming, Pool Safely Campaign Leader, U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission
Summer is here and that means it’s time to hit the pool with the family! Whether your grandkids are visiting for the weekend or live with you full-time, it is essential to make water safety a top priority. According to the latest information from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), child drownings remain the leading cause of unintentional death among children ages one to four years old, and children can drown in as little as one inch of water. Thankfully, staying safer at the pool is easy to do if you follow Pool Safely’s simple safety steps:
Always Watch Grandchildren in and Around Water.
Designate a Water Watcher who is committed to watching children at all times when they are in or around water. Water Watchers should not be distracted by reading a book, talking on the phone or conversing with others, or texting. Pool Safely recommends that the Water Watcher be physically capable of quickly jumping into the pool to rescue a child in distress. Remember, you can also designate Water Watcher shifts, so everyone can relax and have fun in the sun.
Teach Your Grandkids to Swim, or Enroll Them in Swimming Lessons.
If you are a strong swimmer, teaching your grandkids how to swim can be a fun bonding activity. However, if you would prefer help from professionals, swim lessons do not have to be costly. Several organizations, such as the American Red Cross, USA Swimming Foundation, and YMCA, offer classes across the country for a small fee—or even free. Learning to swim is not only a lifesaving skill but also a fun and great form of exercise for everyone!
Stay Away from Drains!
Drains and filter openings can be enticing to curious kids, but their powerful suction can be dangerous. Children should stay away from them. If you take kids to a residential pool, or they go into a spa or hot tub, make sure the owner has the proper cover on the drain before anyone starts swimming.
Make Sure the Pool Has Multiple Layers of Protection.
Make sure your pool—or the pool you are visiting—has layers of protection: a four-sided fence with a self-closing and self-latching gate, multiple alarms, and a proper cover. These important layers of protection help prevent your grandkids from entering the pool without adult supervision, even during the non-swim time.
Performing bystander CPR in the event of a drowning incident can save lives. If you have not done so already, obtain a CPR certification at your local community center or through the American Red Cross. According to the Red Cross, to remain certified in CPR, you must complete training every two years.
Following these simple safety steps will help you have a safer summer with your grandkids. Remember, everyone can have fun at the pool.
To improve pool and spa safety, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) launched Pool Safely: Simple Steps to Save Lives, a national public education campaign to reduce childhood drownings, submersion injuries, and entrapments.