Pool parties are a great way for kids to cool off, celebrate and get out some extra energy during the warmer months. However, being in the water comes with some risk. Drowning is the fifth leading cause of unintentional injury death in the U.S. – and data from Children's Health℠ shows that 38.8% of children who came to the ER for a drowning event were swimming in a new environment, such as a pool party.
"Children often drown outside their own home, in a pool that is new to them," explains Marisa Abbe, Ph.D., CPSTI, Manager of Injury Prevention at Children's Health. "At an event like a family gathering or pool party, it could be easy to assume that someone else is watching the pool, or it could be possible that the pool doesn't have proper safety equipment."
Taking a few, simple precautions can help ensure that pool parties are safe – and fun – for everyone involved.
If you are hosting a pool party:
- Know the swimming ability of each child present.
- Establish a rule that young children and non-swimmers must wear a U.S. Coast Guard approved life jacket. If children remove their life jacket for any reason, make sure they put it back on before getting in the water.
- If you are able, hire a lifeguard.
- Designate a Water Watcher. This is someone who is focused on supervising everyone in the water for 15-20 minutes at a time and does not engage in distractions. To request a free Water Watcher tag, email KBYG@childrens.com.
- Have the right safety equipment, such as a ring buoy and a cell phone nearby.
- Learn CPR.
If your child is attending a pool party:
- Call ahead of time to make sure there are enough adults to supervise the water at all times. Offer to be present and help watch the children.
- Bring a U.S. Coast Guard approved life jacket, especially if your child is a poor swimmer.
Remember, never feel silly or like you are imposing to ask about safety precautions at a pool party your child is attending. A few simple questions can make all the difference in keeping your child safe.
The Children's Health Injury Prevention team is by your side keeping your family safe at the pool. See more pool safety tips, or call 214-456-1870 to learn more.
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