Stay safe in the pool this summer.
Texas ranks number 1 in the nation for child pool drownings. Tarrant County is ranked second in the state. Locally, seventy-five percent of drownings and near-drowning incidents happen in pools, with children 4 years old or under. Active adult supervision and layers of protection, such as swim lessons and a fence around the pool itself, can lower the risk for your child.
Drowning is a quick and silent killer.
- It only takes an inch of water for kids to drown. Drowning can be a silent killer.
- Drowning is the leading cause of unintentional death for children 1-4 years of age.
- Every year over 1,000 children 14 years and under drown in pools and spas, almost 300 of which are under the age of 5. Thousands more are hospitalized for related unintentional injuries.
Layers of protection.
Water Watcher Tags
- Drowning can happen in the time it takes to text a friend. Children drown silently, so designate a Water Watcher to watch children in and around all water. A Water Watcher Tag is used to designate responsible adults to watch the water when you have a party at the pool, lake or beach. At social gatherings, 10-15 minute shifts are recommended for Water Watchers. During that time, Water Watchers should not be distracted by conversations, cell phones, reading, etc. They must keep their eyes scanning above and below the water's surface. To request a Water Watcher Tag contact Renni Burt at 817-748-8349 or Valerie Snyder at 817-748-8173.
- Always check the pool first for missing kids…seconds count!
Backyard pools/spas need fences/alarms.
- Four-sided isolation fencing around home pools could prevent 50 percent to 90 percent of childhood drownings and near-drowning incidents.
- When installing the fence should be at least 4 feet (preferably 5 feet) high with a self-closing/self-latching gate that only opens out.
- Door and window alarms can give you the valuable seconds needed to keep your children from getting outside to the pool. Make sure to alarm any windows and doors that open directly into the pool area.
- Reroute any dog doors that have direct access to the pool area too.
- Pool surface alarms are also a great option to alert you if anyone/anything falls into the pool. You can even put an alarm on your child that will alert you if they are submersed.
- Pool and spa covers are another useful Layer of Protection. The covers should be sturdy enough to support the weight of a child or multiple children and latches should be properly locked whenever you are not using the area.
U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jackets save lives.
- Remember that as your child grows, the life jacket needs to meet their new weight. Get a new life jacket if there are rips and tears or fraying of the straps. Look for the words "U.S. Coast Guard Approved" or "USCG Approved on the jacket."
- Any items filled with air (arm floats, rafts, etc.) are considered toys and not a life saving device.
Alcohol and water activities are a bad mix.
- Many boating-related drownings have alcohol involved. Reflexes and judgment can be impaired, so have a designated driver even on a boat,
Danger zones: bathtubs, buckets, toilets, lakes, pools and spas.
- Be sure to always drain or empty bathtubs, buckets, ice chests, and even inflatable pools when they are not in use.
- Keep toilet seats down but preferably use a childproof latch to keep children out.
- Remove any toys, slides, ladders or any other items that may attract children to the pool or spa.
Supervise with your eyes. Always be a Water Watcher.
- Active Supervision of children in and around water can help keep them safer.
- Designate a Water Watcher when at the pool, lake or beach. In addition to parents watching their own kids, or even life guards – a Water Watcher is another layer of protection especially at parties.
- Work in recommended shifts of 15 minutes to insure that an undistracted adult is always watching the water.
- If a child goes missing check the water first!
Reach and throw – Don't go!
- Prepare for an emergency by having a pool hook, foam noodle, or U.S. Coast Guard approved life jacket available to throw out for help if needed.
- If there is someone in the water in need of help try to reach to them with a towel, pool hook, foam noodle or any other device that you can safely extend to them.
- If you cannot reach the person then throw them a rescue ring or another approved flotation device that they can use to remain above the water.
- Do not go in the water after the person if at all avoidable!
Summer sun, water fun, if trouble comes, call 9-1-1. Learn to swim at any age.
- Drownings and near drownings are 8 times more likely to happen to children that don't know how to swim or are being supervised by adults that don't know how to swim.
- Learning how to swim and practicing proper water safety techniques are crucial but children that know how to swim are still at risk.
- Knowing how to swim is just one layer of protection. It is important to always use as many of the layers of protection as possible in order to stay safe and cool this swim season.
Learn CPR for the family.
- Learning CPR can be the difference between life and death while waiting for emergency personnel to arrive.
- The fire department teaches an American Heart Association Heartsaver CPR/AED class the third Saturday of each month. Please contact Renni Burt at 817-748-8349 to reserve your spot.
Simple steps do save lives and you never know which step might save someone that you love.
- Keep safety equipment nearby.
- Be sure to always have rescue rings, pool hooks, approved flotation devices and a phone nearby.
- Have the address of the pool/lake readily available in case something does happen so you can call 911.