Summer sun is practically synonymous with water fun. But as much as we love pools, they can be dangerous for little ones. Drowning is the second leading cause of unintentional injury death among children ages 1 to 4 years, so toddlers are at high risk—especially those with swimming pools at home, according to a study presented at the October 2011 American Academy of Pediatrics National Conference & Exhibition. Lead author Phyllis Agran, MD, MPH, offers these vital safety tips:
- Residential swimming pools must be surrounded by a four-sided fence with a self-closing and self-latching gate that is never left open.
- Stay within an arm’s length of your child, providing “touch supervision,” whenever he’s in or near the water.
- Don’t gab on the phone, play Angry Birds or drink alcohol while supervising him.
- Consider swim lessons. A recent report found that toddlers who have had formal instruction are less likely to drown. (But remember: Even the best little swimmer still needs constant supervision.)
- You (or whoever is watching your child) should know how to swim and be trained in child CPR and first aid.
- Keep a phone and lifesaving equipment (including a life buoy, a life jacket and a reach tool such as a shepherd’s crook) poolside just in case.