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Self-Care

Swimming Pool and Hot Tub Owners, Don't Let Summer Fun Turn Into a Tragedy


Swimming pools and hot tubs pose a potential threat to children and should be fenced off and locked up to prevent drownings this summer.

Drowning is a leading cause of death in several states. More than 375 children under 5 years old drown in swimming pools each year in the United States, most in residential swimming pools, according to Barb Bailey, an injury prevention specialist with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.

"There is no foolproof protection against drowning and children must be supervised at all times while in the water. Flotation devices are never to be used as a substitute for supervision, and knowing how to swim doesn't make a child drown proof. Watch children closely while they are in the pool," Bailey said.

The following steps may help to avoid a summertime drowning:

  • Build Physical barriers such as a fence, wall or power safety cover for the pool, to limit access to swimming pools.
  • Fences and walls should be at least five-feet high and installed completely around the pool. Fence gates should be self-closing and self-latching. The latch should be out of a small child's reach.
  • If a house forms one side of the barrier for the pool, then doors leading from the house to the pool should be protected with alarms that produce an audible sound when a door is unexpectedly opened. A power safety cover, a motor-powered barrier that can be placed over the water area, can be used as an alternative to door alarms.
  • For above-ground swimming pools, steps and ladders should be secured and locked, or removed when the swimming pool is not in use.
  • If a child is missing, always look in the swimming pool first. Seconds count in preventing death or disability.

For More Information, call (303) 692-2589.

Copyright 1999 Health Resources Publishing


© 2000 Health Resources Publishing