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Prevention

Drowning Is Not a Seasonal Problem

Children can drown in pools any time of year. And bathtubs, toilets, and buckets of water can also pose risks, especially for very young children.

But they can stay safe around water all year long with these tips:

Keep pool water levels high year round. If a child fell into 5 feet of water and they were only 3 or 4 feet tall, the water level needs to be high enough for them to reach up at the edge of the pool.  If the water level is down, they would be able to swim to the edge but couldn’t reach up high enough to save themselves.

Have a designated “watcher” who commits to staying free from distractions (i.e., no calls, no texting, no answering the door) while watching kids play in or around water.

Have safety devices on hand at all times, whether at home, at a friend’s pool, or on vacation. Keep a shepherd’s hook (a hook-shaped item often used to display garden flags), a life vest, and a life preserver within four feet of the designated watcher anytime and anywhere people are swimming, whether it’s the pool, the lake or the ocean.

Make sure you and everyone in your household (even kids) know how to operate the pool pump. It needs to be shut off immediately before rescue can take place if someone has fallen in and become caught in the drain by, for example, the hair, arm or leg. You can’t pull someone free if the pump is on, even if you’re very strong. Make sure it’s easily accessible and everyone knows how to use it.

Get certified in CPR immediately and maintain your certification. Renew every year instead of every two years as required.

Do not leave toys in the pool. Toys attract children, and you do not want them to fall into the water while trying to reach for a toy. If a child falls into the water and there is a raft floating in it, your child can get caught under the raft and may not be able to get out of the water.

Make sure all kids learn the “Turn, Kick, Reach” method. Even children under one can learn survival skills in case of an accidental fall into the water. Visit www.babyotter.com to find a teacher in your area.

People die of drowning every month, all year long. Together, we can stop this epidemic. All it takes is a commitment to safety and taking the time to learn how to swim. And that’s now easier than ever for adults who have never learned as well as kids as young as nine months thanks to the ‘Turn, Kick, Reach’ method — the world’s fastest learn-to-swim program.

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