Research: Majority of Families Overlook Drowning Dangers at Home

Home Safety Council research shows that drowning is one of the leading causes of unintentional injury-related death across all age groups, yet a recent study commissioned by the nonprofit organization found that only six percent of respondents have taken any action to prevent drowning incidents at home. Of those polled, fewer than 10 percent have put in a four-sided fence that goes all around the pool or installed a gate that closes and locks by itself -- two of the key water safety tips recommended by the Home Safety Council.

"No one should swim alone. Close, active adult supervision is particularly vital when children are around water," said Meri-K Appy, president of the Home Safety Council. "Drowning can occur in just seconds without noise or sign of struggle, so adults need to stay within arm's reach and remain entirely focused on children when they are around any body of water."

In addition to drowning, pools and spas also introduce the risk of injuries from falls, poisoning, scalds, entrapment and electric shock. The Home Safety Council's new, online destination, MySafeHome.org, lets users explore all the areas of a virtual home to understand where potential dangers may be found in their own homes. MySafeHome.org includes an interactive pool and spa area that illustrates the most common injury risks found around backyard pools and spas and demonstrates the safety devices and practices needed to reduce the risk of injury.

Water Safety Tips:

The Home Safety Council offers the following water safety tips for activity in and around pools, spas, ponds and irrigation ditches, bathtubs and buckets.

  • Install four-sided fencing with self-locking and self-closing gates around pools and spas. Fencing should completely isolate the pool from the home and be at least five feet high.
  • Always keep gates closed and latched. Never prop a gate open or disable the lock.
  • Always practice constant adult supervision around any body of water, including pools and spas. Never leave your child alone or in the care of another child.
  • When hosting a pool party, assign specific adults to keep an eye on the pool at all times.
  • Enroll non-swimmers in swimming lessons taught by a qualified instructor.
  • Remember that regardless of age or skill level, no one is "drown proof." Children should always be supervised by an adult while they are swimming.
  • Never swim alone. Even adults should swim with a buddy.
  • Learn and practice basic lifesaving techniques, including First Aid and CPR. Insist that anyone who cares for your children learn CPR.
  • Keep poolside rescue equipment close to the pool area at all times.
  • Post emergency numbers and CPR instructions near the pool area.
  • Entrapment underwater can be deadly. Teach children that drains, grates and filters are not toys. Never stick fingers or toes in these openings and stay away from suction devices.
  • Install anti-entrapment drain covers and replace drain covers immediately if they are broken or damaged.
  • Always remove toys from the pool area when not in use.
  • Establish pool safety rules and make sure children are familiar with them.
  • Keep spas and hot tubs covered and locked when not in use.
  • Completely remove pool and spa covers prior to use.
  • Stay out of the pool during severe weather and thunderstorms, especially if lightning is forecast or present.
  • If a child is missing, check the pool area first.

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