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Swimming Pools and Safety – Need for Consistent and Undistracted Adult Supervision

By Joseph R. Hillebrand Attorney and David Wolf, Attorney
Published by Child Injury Lawyer Network

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The recent pool drowning of a five-year-old boy in Springfield, Missouri should prompt parents, child care providers, babysitters, and others to be on high alert when watching their children at the pool. Safe Kids USA, a nationwide network that works to prevent unintentional child injury, estimates that drowning is the second leading cause of unintentional injury-related death to children ages 1-14; 900 child deaths occur each year. A coordinator from Safe Kids, Daphne Greenlee, stated the most effective way to prevent your child from sustaining these types of injuries is to keep at watchful eye on them at all time – no talking on the cell phone, reading, or sunbathing. A Safe Kids report revealed the main cause of drowning was lack of attention on behalf of the supervising adults. Greenlee also suggested the “buddy system” as another way to prevent child drowning-related accidents. If a child is in the water he or she should always be with a buddy, whether it is an adult of another child. The buddy should know the rules of the pool such as no running around the pool and where the permissible diving areas are located.

Safe Kids reports that inflatable toys, such as noodles, were not appropriate safety devices and would not prevent drowning. The presence of a life guard should not be a reason for a decrease in adult supervision. The Drowning Prevention Foundation reported that almost one in every five drowning deaths involving children occurred while a lifeguard was on duty at a public pool.

Infants can drown in as little as one inch of water. Therefore, it is important to empty all buckets, containers and wading pools immediately after you’re done using them. To read more about this topic see Pool safety for children.