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Drowning Prevention

July 30, 2019
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Childhood drowning and near-drowning can occur in a number of settings — pools, hot tubs, beaches, lakes, bathtubs, and buckets. Activities such as boating, jet skiing, water skiing, sailing, and surfing are also associated with water-related injuries and fatalities. Most drowning incidents happen when a child falls into a pool or is left alone in the bathtub. It can take only a couple of seconds for a child to drown, and drowning typically occurs when a child is left unattended or during a brief lapse in supervision.
Every year in the U.S., 945 children under age 20 die from drowning.
Nearly half of them are infants and toddlers under age 5.
While White children account for more than half of these fatalities, American Indian/Alaska Native and Black children are significantly more likely to drown.
Laws and regulations enacted to address water safety often concentrate on swimming pool regulations and personal flotation device mandates. For example, the Virginia Graeme Baker Act requires anti-entrapment drain covers on pools and spas.
Environmental protections can protect children and youth from drowning. Swimming pools, including large, inflatable above-ground pools and other temporary pools, should be completely surrounded by a fence on all 4 sides.
The fence should:
be at least 4-feet high and have no opening under it or between slats that are more than 4 inches wide.
Completely separate the pool from the house.
Have a self-closing and self-latching gate that opens away from the pool, with the latch at least 54 inches from the ground.
Keep the gate locked at all times and check it frequently to be sure it works. Keep toys out of the pool area when not in use so that children are not tempted to try to get through the fence during non-swim time. Also be sure to always cover and lock hot tubs, spas and whirlpools right after using them.

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