While driving, responsible motorists keep their wits about them and their eyes on the road. They know not to let their digital dashboard distract them. If they use their phone, they do it hands-free or invoke the do-not-disturb feature so as not to receive alerts until they reach their destination.
Defensive driving saves lives. Most people will exercise caution when they’re on a vehicle with the capacity for speed. But what about when floating atop a shimmery backyard pool?
Unfortunately, when defenses are down, tragedy can strike. But like anything else in this life, if you educate yourself, you can protect yourself.
The Stop Drowning Now (SDN) organization was “founded by a group of educators who believe that drowning can be prevented. We believe that awareness, skills, knowledge, and practice can help parents and kids realize the risks they face, learn how to protect themselves and react effectively if an emergency happens.”
While an informative website they provide some sobering statistics for the United States:
- In the US, an average of 3,500 to 4,000 people drown per year. That is an average of 10 fatal drownings per day.
- Drowning is the leading cause of unintentional injury-related death for children ages 1-4.
- Drowning remains in the top 5 causes of unintentional injury-related death from birth to 5 years old.
- Twenty-three percent of child drownings happen during a family gathering near a pool.
- No one is drown-proof, and drowning doesn’t discriminate.
- Drowning is fast and silent. It can happen in as little as 20-60 seconds. Drowning doesn’t always look like we would expect.
Drowning is portrayed dramatically in the movies, often presented with great commotion. In reality, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), “Drowning is quick and quiet.” So how do you keep you and your family safe?
The precautions you can take are simple ones that can keep everyone from your oldest to your youngest swimmers secure to enjoy the water while avoiding water-related dangers.
Appoint Your In-House Lifeguard
You can break it up in shifts but designating a responsible adult to maintain a clear view of the pool and an accurate headcount of who is in the water is one of your first and best steps. This means they steer clear of books and smartphones to focus completely on the task.
Another tip for your lifeguard is to make certain that all the “fun in the sun” stuff, from sunscreen to towels are already poolside. That way there will be no need to run into the house, even for a minute, leaving swimming kids unobserved.
Get Swimming Lessons
A Washington Post article from 2019 cited the findings of the American Academy of Pediatrics in its newest water safety guidelines, where they recommend children start swimming lessons around age 1 to help decrease risks of drowning. “’Formal lessons can reduce the risk of drowning by 88 percent’ says Debbie Hesse, executive director of the USA Swimming Foundation, the philanthropic arm of USA Swimming, whose goal is to have every child learn to swim.”
Besides the obvious safety benefit, swimming lessons give children confidence. They also become stronger swimmers and learn a respect for the water. The Red Cross offers affordable classes for kids along with a selection of other safety classes like:
- First Aid
- Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR)
- Automated External Defibrillator (AED)
- Basic Life Support (BLS)
- ALS & PALS
- Babysitting & Childcare
- Swimming + Water Safety
- Adult Swimming Lessons
- Kid Swim Lessons
- Teach Water Safety Outreach
- Safety Training for Swim Coaches
- Learn to Swim Providers
- Swim Lessons
You can even take an online water safety course from the Red Cross. It is designed for parents and caregivers.
There is also an array of local, private companies from which to choose. Companies like this one in Clearwater Florida, will come to you so everyone can learn to swim right in their own backyard pool.
When seconds count, knowing exactly what to do in an emergency will make you enjoy each poolside day with assurance. At the National CPR Association, the courses are free, you just pay a nominal fee for the certification.
They say that if someone is drowning, “He or she tends to lose consciousness after several attempts of breathing. However, in that situation, a person cannot provide adequate oxygen in their body because their nose and mouth already submerged from the water. Based on studies, those victims of drowning that are immediately taken care of have higher chance to be revived. Waiting for medical assistance and not immediately responding to them can lead to the victim’s death.”
While these are skillsets you hope you’ll never have to use, when you learn how to do simple chest compressions and even mouth to mouth resuscitation, you can save a life.
Wear a Life Jacket
From Target to Dick’s Sporting Goods to L.L. Bean, you can shop U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jackets. This of course doesn’t mean your children are safe enough to be left unattended, but these wearable buoys give them the chance to get accustomed to and enjoy the water.
Exercise Sun Safety
Fire and water are two strong yet opposing forces. There’s nothing like views of a clear blue, cloudless sky as you float along on the water. But that blazing sun can do a lot of damage in a short time. Especially since it is reflecting off your pool.
It is always advisable to check with your dermatologist for recommendations, especially if you have fair skin. But still, regardless of how dark your natural skin tone, never assume you’re immune from the sun’s harmful UVB rays.
According to John Hopkins Medicine, “UVB rays cause a much greater risk of skin cancer than UVA. But UVA rays cause aging, wrinkling, and loss of elasticity. UVA also increases the damaging effects of UVB, including skin cancer and cataracts.” These are some sunscreens reputed to be the best.
Every facet of your home requires attention. You keep the gutters free of debris, so the rain gets routed away from your foundation, the windows sealed to help maintain your interior’s climate, and the roof of course, leak-free. Understanding how to maintain your backyard pool, but conscientiously co-exist with it will give you endless days of family enjoyment.
Providing pool and home improvement loan solutions since 1979, Lyon Financial loves backyard pools. We also love the difference we can make for your family by providing something that puts years of memories within reach. Call 877-754-5966 for more information about creating your ideal backyard oasis.