By Ron Scroggy, Director of DHS’ Division of Family & Children Services
It’s that time of year again. With the temperature rising and summer right around the corner, many will start flocking to the pool to beat the heat. But not so fast! There are a few water safety guidelines that should be taken into consideration to help keep Georgia's children from becoming a statistic.
Home swimming pools are the most common site of drowning. But there are some proven interventions to prevent drowning deaths and injuries. One is to have four-sided isolation fencing around home pools. According to the experts, this would prevent 50 to 90% of drowning deaths. The swimming pool is not the only water hazard. Infants and toddlers are more at risk for drowning and adults should be wary of bathtubs, toilets, kiddie pools and bucket hazards.
It is important to make sure kids are properly supervised while around the pool. Children should never be left alone or in the care of another child. Adults responsible for looking after children should not be distracted by other activities and should be supervising children that are in and/or around the pool at all times. It takes less than five minutes for a drowning incident to occur!
If children are going to be in and around a pool or body of water, take the time to teach them the basics of swimming such as floating and moving through water. Adults should consider receiving cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and First Aid training. Starting CPR immediately can help reduce the chance of brain damage in the event that a drowning incident should occur.
Drowning is the second-leading cause of death among children ages 1-14 years. This can be changed with your help. Encourage conversation with your neighbors so that every Georgian knows what s/he can do to keep our children safe. Let’s do all we can to prevent these unintentional injuries and deaths. It is our responsibility.