When it comes to pool safety, don’t let your guard down just because summer is nearing the end. We often hear about the link between distracted driving and auto accidents, but what about the link between distracted parents and child swimming pool accidents.
There are almost 800 children who drown in the U.S. each year. It is the second leading cause of death among children ages 1-14 based on statistics from the Centers for Disease Control. For every fatal drowning, there are five non-fatal drowning incidents which can result in severe injuries such as brain damage, memory problems, learning disabilities, paralysis and permanent loss of basic bodily functions. These statistics alone show why it’s important for parents and babysitters to be extra vigilant about eliminating distractions while supervising children who are swimming.
Most people in charge of watching children at a swimming pool think that if they are sitting by the pool and don’t see or hear anything out of the ordinary then everything is okay. It’s a common misconception for people to think that if a child were in trouble while swimming they would see the child struggling or hear them cry for help. Unfortunately, the reality of drowning is that it is quick and quiet. It can happen silently in a matter of minutes or seconds, and if you’re distracted in any way you may not see it before it’s too late.
Distractions That Can Lead to Swimming Pool Accidents
- Cell Phones or other Electronic Devices – We can easily get caught up in using our electronic devices and forget everything that’s happening around us. It’s a distraction to use our phones to check email, send texts or respond to social media. Tragically, a child can drown in the short amount of time it takes for you to read and respond to a text.
- Reading – Whether reading on your iPad, Kindle or Nook or flipping through the pages of a magazine, if you’re engrossed in a story then you are not noticing if your child is in danger.
- Pool Parties – Adults at a pool party assume that “someone” is watching the kids. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case.
Safety Tips While Supervising Children at the Pool
- Establish a “designated water watcher” – If there is more than one adult, designate one person to watch the swimmers while you’re distracted. This can be done in intervals, say 15 minutes at a time, and then another person takes over. Some people even have lanyards they wear that reminds them they are the watcher.
- Create rules for babysitters – Make sure anyone watching your children at the pool knows they are not allowed to text, read, play games or talk on the phone while supervising.
- Ensure your kids are educated about swim safety – make sure they know how to tread water, how to get out of the pool, that they never enter a pool without adult supervision, they don’t run on wet pavement or dive in shallow water, and they stay clear of pool drains, where they can get tangled or entrapped.
Misconceptions That Parents and Caregivers Have About Drowning *
- Most people think they would hear their child if he/she were drowning. In reality, drowning is silent.
- Many parents think it’s okay to turn their head or walk away for a couple of minutes, especially if their child knows how to swim. In reality, drowning can happen in less than one minute, and kids who have had swim lessons can still drown.
- At public pools parents rely on lifeguards to watch their children. In reality, lifeguards have several children to watch as well as rules to enforce and may not see everything, including a child in distress.
*Information obtained from safekids.org
Gautreaux Law is a full-service personal injury law firm located in Macon, Georgia. If you’ve been injured in a swimming pool accident or a loved one died due to a swimming pool injury, then we want to help you. Our firm will work tirelessly to get you the compensation you deserve. If we can’t win your case, then you don’t pay us a penny. Call us today or contact us online to schedule your one-on-one free strategy session. 478-238-9758.