Living in Kansas City has taught me that nothing feels better than a cool pool on a HOT, midwest, summer day. The pool is a natural gathering spot for friends and family, and kids love it! That being said, we are constantly reminding and updating our own "pool rules" to keep safety at the forefront. After all, rules for a toddler are much different than for a 12-year-old.
The CDC estimates that there are 10 unintentional drownings each day and that 1 out of 5 occur in children ages 14 and younger. The biggest reasons for these deaths are lack of swimming ability, lack of water enclosure (gates, etc) and lack of supervision.
A fence with locking gait is always a good idea if you've got an in-ground pool, but don't forget the above-ground pools. Removing the ladder and storing it in a place that kids can't access is critical in avoiding pool-related accidents.
As far as "lack of supervision" goes, this doesn't just mean not having an adult in proximity to the pool. It's easy to get side-tracked when outside enjoying a summer day with a group of friends and drownings happen in group settings when everyone assumes everyone else is watching out for trouble. Be sure there is always at least one person on "active" life-guarding duty when hanging out poolside. I've seen kids get into a sticky situation in a matter of seconds even with a grown-up close by. The splashing and shrieking of the other kids can sometimes distract from a panicky child who can't call out for help so keeping a close eye on the whole pool is very important.
And lastly, there are tons of great places to get swimming lessons around town including: the YMCA, the Jewish Community Center, Infant Aquatics, UMKC, as well as lessons at local parks and recreation facilities. Basic life support classes are offered at a variety of places, including Kansas City First Aid.
See the tips from www.poolsafetly.gov below for some ideas on how you can help safeguard your family and friends.
Look after yourselves and have a safe and happy Memorial Day weekend!