Owning a swimming pool is at the center of summer backyard fun. Sadly, many children, and even pets, fall victim to drowning every summer. Oftentimes, the children are thought to be napping or being supervised by another adult or older sibling.
Water safety and drowning prevention aids have generated an entire new generation of products.
While fences are the best prevention of accidental drownings, there are no safety methods that are 100% foolproof. Fences have taken on new safety adjustments. In addition to increased height and latches that are high enough for toddlers not to reach, other measures have helped. Self-closing gates and latches prevent kids leaving pool area fence access accidentally open.
Other pool safety measures are encouraged by the Consumer Product Safety Commission. In addition to fences, other products add layers of safety. If one safety measure has not kept a toddler or young child safe, other measures can be added additionally to ramp it up.
One added measure is a rigid pool cover. This kind of cover is like a metal garage door that can be pulled over a pool. Unlike a soft pool cover, these covers provide no give for a child who may wander on top of it. This can be very costly.
Another useful safety measure to prevent accidental drownings is a water alarm. A weighed alarm sits on the surface of the water and will emit a loud noise if an object, such as a small child or pet over a certain weight, breaks the waters’ surface. Other alarms will notify the pool owner of underwater motion rather than surface water motion breaks. These alarms are thought to give less false alarms as they require motion under the water in order for them to sound. Either one will immediately notify an adult in the area of a potential serious safety breach. However, this is AFTER THE FACT. You need prevention.
Another “after the fact” product is a wristband that can be put on the child and will emit a sound when it either gets wet or is underwater for longer than a few seconds. There are several models available that parents can choose that would best fit their needs. Swimming lessons are great at an early age but will not prevent drowning.
Alarms that sound when a home’s door with pool access is opened are a great investment. This can be invaluable if a child wakes from a nap and decides to wander outside before the caregiver realizes they’ve awakened.
There is no product that can make up for human supervision. While all of these products can help protect a child from an accidental drowning, parents should never depend on them solely. There is nothing like the eyes of an adult, or several of them, to see that children in and around pools are safe. Flailing and splashing can mean a child is struggling to stay afloat. However, drowning in most cases is silent. Most children do not cry out when in danger, so watchful eyes should always be on kids in pools. They should never be left unsupervised, even for a few seconds.