Swimming Pool Safety & First Aid
A swimming pool provides an excellent space for backyard fun so you want to be sure it’s kept safe and protected for your family and pets. Most regions require inground pools to be fenced in, but experts recommend using additional safety systems such as pool alarms and pool safety covers to create layers of protection.
But always remember: there is no substitute for constant adult supervision and staying within an arm’s reach of your child.
Nothing is more synonymous with summertime than swimming pools. While pools are one of the most fun ways to beat the summer heat, they do pose danger if used without proper caution. Here are some pool safety tips to keep swimmers safe and sound.
- Always maintain constant adult supervision.Never leave children alone in or near the swimming pool or hot tub, even for a minute. During social gatherings, have adults take turns being the designated “water watcher” to supervise children and prevent accidents around the pool area. Keep a telephone and emergency numbers by the pool.
- Block access to the pool. Install a four-sided safety pool fence with a self-closing, self-latching gate to prevent children and pets from accessing the pool. Remove steps to aboveground swimming pools when not in use.
- Establish pool rules to prevent injuries. Discuss the pool rules with children and pool guests, such as no running around the swimming pool, no diving into the shallow end or from the side of the pool, and no sliding down a waterslide head-first.
- Teach your children to swim. The National Safety Council suggests enrolling children in swimming lessons as early as age three, and the American Red Cross says most children are ready by age four.
- Learn CPR. Enroll in Red Cross water safety, first aid and CPR courses to learn what to do in the event of an emergency. Ensure that babysitters, grandparents and others who care for your children know these lifesaving skills as well. Find a Swimming and Water Safety course in your area by contacting your local Red Cross Chapter at www.redcross.org.
Protect your pool and your family by enabling multiple layers of security.
The prevailing strategy behind pool safety systems is similar to that of the packaging on a child’s toy. As most parents are aware, numerous barriers prevent access to a packaged toy. And though a pool is not sealed with ultra-thick plastic, nor does it feature a battery cover requiring a screwdriver, it too should be protected by numerous layers. While there’s no better safety plan than constant adult supervision, you can also help prevent accidents by using a safety cover, building a fence, and installing an alarm system.
What to do in the Event of Drowning or Near-Drowning
According to Marc Van Heerden (general manager coastal, Netcare 911), having multiple layers of safety such as a certified safety net, a fence with locked gate, a child-minder and a surface alarm around the pool and spa areas at home or around other open bodies of water can prevent accidents and drowning.
“A basic course in first aid and cardio-pulmonary resuscitation (CPR) can make a dramatic difference in the outcome should the skills be applied timeously,” asserts Van Heerden.
- Get the victim out of the water as soon as possible, but do not become a victim yourself. Make sure it is safe for you to enter the water first.
- Handle the victim with care. Many submersion incidents are associated with neck injuries, so keep movement to the back and neck to a minimum.
- Assess to see if the victim is awake by asking, “Hello, can you hear me?”
- Check for breathing by looking at the chest for no longer than 10 seconds. If the victim is not breathing or not breathing normally (i.e. gasping), call for immediate medical assistance.
- Call, or have someone call, a recognised medical emergency service provider such as Netcare 911 on 082 911 as soon as possible. Whoever calls for the ambulance must give the dispatcher an accurate location of the incident and a contact number at the scene. Never hang up on the operator and always return to the rescuer to inform them that you have called for help.
- Check for a pulse within 10 seconds, if no pulse can be found begin CPR immediately. If a definite pulse is felt provide rescue breaths (1 breath every 5 to 6 seconds).
- CPR is vital, even if it is an amateur administering it. Keep on doing it until someone who is trained in advanced life support arrives and can take over.
- All parents should learn how to administer child CPR as it differs from adult CPR.There has also recently been a worldwide revision in the CPR technique and it is important that even current first aiders be retrained according to the new protocols.
Free Online First Aid Courses
Firstaidforfree.com offers free online first aid and CPR courses that anyone can take. The free online first aid training could equip you with the skills and knowledge to help save someone’s life. Simply work your way through the free online first aid courses to develop your lifesaving knowledge. Once you’re done, you can download a free first aid & CPR certificate.
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