By Joseph M. Wilson, Jr., Attorney at Law
The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention report that 390 children ages 0-14 drown and more than 5,200 are treated for submersion injuries each year. Children are attracted to water and do not always understand the dangers. And parents and caregivers may underestimate how resourceful a determined child can be.
While commercial pools must meet stringent safety requirements, including those that have been implemented under the Virginia Graeme Baker Act over the past several years, parents should not assume that their children are safe from injury. A visit to a neighbor’s pool or setting up an inflatable pool in your backyard for the season can also lead to danger. It is important that parents take steps to educate and protect their children. Here are a few safety tips from Pool Safely (www.poolsafely.gov):
- At a minimum, teach your children basic water safety. Better yet, sign them up for swim lessons. (Note that June 14th is the World’s Largest Swimming Lesson!) Many local YMCA’s offer water safety programs for infants through adults.
- Always watch your child when he or she is near water. This includes pools, spas, lakes, the ocean and even the bathtub.
- If a child is missing, look first in the pool. Just this past Friday, a 3-year old near Charlotte climbed over the neighbor’s fence and fell into their pool. Fortunately, the neighbor noticed the child and performed CPR.
- Teach children to stay away from pipes, drains and other openings around pools, spas and lakes. While the newer drain covers are designed to prevent entrapment, there is still potential danger.
- Have everyone in the family who is old enough learn CPR and update those skills frequently.
- Keep a phone handy so you can call 911 for assistance, should it be necessary.
The attorneys and staff at Merritt Webb wish you and your family a fun and safe summer season.