Childhood drowning prevention
It's an unfortunate fact in Australia but every year we are faced with small children drowning in our swimming pools. It's essential that you follow all relevant safety advice when it comes to your kids to prevent them from becoming another statistic. Some statistics you should know about childhood drowning:
14 children will die in Queensland ever year from drowning
One and two year olds account for two thirds of these deaths
It's not just drowning that causes damage, even rescued children can face permanent brain damage from lack of oxygen
73% of these drownings happen in built in swimming pools, 4% in spas and the remaining 24% in above ground swimming pools
A whopping two thirds of these deaths happen at the child's own house
46% of these children gained access to the pool by opening the gate themselves, 21% died due to an unfenced pool, 13% climbed through a window, 8% were already swimming in the pool and 4% climbed under the fence
These statistics are staggering when you take into consideration how easy it is to place a fence around your pool to prevent such incidents occurring.
It is also important to remember that children can drown in any form of water and all it takes is 5cm worth of water for a child to drown. That doesn't sound much and in reality it isn't much, but it's really all it takes to kill your child. Looking at your child if they are under 2, it's very easy for them to fall over into water and not make much noise if they are in trouble so usually by the time you know it's too late. This is where a lack of adult supervision comes into play. It really isn't that hard to closely watch your child so that they do not venture into a dangerous area in which they may be killed or harmed by water. Here are some further tips as to how to keep your child safe:
Keep Watch of your Children!
Really the most basic and effective way to ensure your child is safe around your pool and around water is to constantly supervise them when they are home with you. It doesn't take much effort at all to keep your eye on what they are doing and always making sure they are in an area which remains safe. If you find yourself in a situation where you have lots of people around at your place and a lot of these people are swimming, you should make somebody 'lifeguard' too constantly watch over people at the swimming pool and to make sure that everyone is doing the right thing. This way you won't have your child or any other small child getting into trouble and going unnoticed if you have large amounts of people in the pool at once. You can easily swap these 'lifeguards' over from time to time to allow consistency and not getting people tired.
Fence Your Pool!
Another really simple exercise, as we have already learned a large proportion of childhood drownings occur when a fence isn't placed around a pool. There is really no excuse as to not putting a fence around your pool if you have small children so you should alway have one in place and ensure:
the fence is isolation free and covers all 4 sides of the pool and has no access from the house
Is at least 1.2 metres in height so your child can't climb it
A self closing gate that can only be opened by you. This gate should always be maintained correctly
The gap under the fence is less than 10cm so your child can't get under it
The vertical bars have gaps of less than 10cam so your child can't climb through them
Not placing anything near the bars that your child can climb up on and then climb over the fence
Always check with your council and relevant safety bodies to make sure your fence is suitable
Learning to swim and Resuscitation
You can always get your child familiar with water from an early age so that they know what to do in an emergency. This will also help them learn to swim right from the get go so that down the line you won't have to worry too much about their swimming capabilities. You should also take the time to learn resuscitation and CPR. An emergency can happen at the click of a finger and if you don't know what to do correctly then things can get worse pretty quickly. It's always a good idea to:
Get training in CPR and always make sure that your training is up to date. If you think you may have forgotten then take a refresher course.
Put clear instructions on how to do CPR near the pool or area in which the pool is located. This will help people who don't know CPR to cope in the situation
Put emergency numbers near your phone such as 000, doctor number and poison control should something like that occur near the pool
You can get CPR posters and training from places like the Red Cross and St.Johns Ambulance and you should never discount the importance of learning such things. Pool safety is extremely important and by learning these basics you may just save your child's life.