Guest Guru Alison Rhodes of

Having Safe Fun In The Sun With Your Kids

With the warm weather finally here, everyone’s thoughts turn to lazy afternoons outside. Well, everyone that is, except moms with kids who know that a day in the park or backyard means a forty-yard dash as you try to keep up with your children.

And while summers are filled with care “free” days, they still need to be careful days as well. This is especially true if you or friends you are visiting have a pool.

The statistics are sobering. Drowning is the second leading cause of injury-related deaths among children. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, about 300 children under 5 years old drown in swimming pools. Another 2,000 children are treated in emergency rooms for submersion injuries. Approximately 75% of those children were between 1 and 3 years of age. Also, at the time of the incident most of the children were being supervised by one or both parents. Drowning can occur in a matter of minutes and, unlike scenes in movies or on TV, drowning victims cannot cry out – drowning is a silent death.

The following are some important recommendations from the Consumer Product Safety Commission in helping create a safer environment if you own a pool.

• Install a fence completely around your pool. This should be at least four feet high but preferably five feet. If your house opens right onto the pool, the doors leading from the house to the pool should be protected with an alarm.

• Vertical slats on the fence should be less than 4 inches apart to prevent a child from squeezing through.

• If the fence is chain link, then no part of the diamond-shaped opening should be larger than 1-3/4 inches.

• Be sure there are no objects such as lawn chairs or riding toys around the fence that your child could use as leverage to climb over.

• Fence gates should be self-closing and self-latching.

• A power safety cover should also be installed. Be sure this cover meets the requirements of the ASTM pool cover standard that addresses labeling requirements and performance.

• If you have an above-ground pool, steps and ladders leading to the pool should be secured and locked or removed when the pool is not in use.

Along with securing your pool, it’s important to remember these safety rules:

• Make sure babysitters or anyone else watching your children know about the safety devices for your pool and that you expect them to keep your child in sight at all times.

• Keep a portable phone at the pool with you and have all emergency numbers on hand.

• Take a CPR course or take a refresher course.

• If a child is missing immediately check the pool. Seconds could make the difference between life and death.

• Do not assume that because your child has had swim lessons, he could not drown.

• If you are having a party, designate a second person to watch your child while you might be tending to guests.

• Never leave toys, that might be enticing to a child, near a pool

Pool safety is also something to consider when visiting friends or relatives. We are all taught to be polite, but your child’s safety is much more important than being diplomatic. If you are visiting someone who does not have a fence around their pool with a self-closing and self-latching gate, consider very carefully if you feel this is a safe environment for your child to be in. I know, I know, you never take your eyes off your children, but statistics don’t lie. 77% of the victims had been missing from sight for five minutes or less, the time it takes to answer a phone or run after another child. Don’t let your child become a statistic.

About Alison:

From pool safety and burn prevention to sports injuries and environmental toxins, Alison Rhodes, The Safety Mom is always on the lookout for dangers facing all children – newborns to teens.

After experiencing the death of her child from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, Rhodes became committed to saving children’s lives and is the national voice for child health and safety. As one of the country’s leading child safety authorities, Rhodes provides tips and advice to parents on a broad range of issues.

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