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June 20, 2011 at 12:09 PMComments: 2 Faves: 0

Big pool or little pool size doesnt matter for a child's risk of drowning

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I saw an article this morning on the net about how a child dies every day during warm weather months in a portable pool.  I was lucky enough when I was a kid to live by a lake so my parents never had to use the portable option.  Learning to swim came early and summers were spent as a human fish with the rest of my friends in the area. 

I was also fortunate to be aware of water safety younger than most because our state mandated a boating and water safety class to be taught to middle school children.  That instruction stayed with me.  Even today I can recite many of the boating terms with visual memory cues from the instruction book.  I’m pretty sure some of those remembered lessons helped keep me safe in situations where I had to assess the risk of an activity in or around the water. 

Taking our child to swimming lessons was also one of the first official classes she attended.  It was important she learn to navigate being in water and learn the basics of keeping herself comfortable in water for long periods of time while following the rules of the pool.  She’s been swimming happily and safely for several years now, but, I still sit by the pool when she’s in swimming and she’s not allowed in the pool without adult supervision.   

Even though I’m confident of her abilities, I don’t assume.  Big pool, little pool or even no pool at all.  Water in the lungs equals the inability for incoming air to be processed for oxygen extraction.  It’s why children can literally drown from inhaling what seems to be a small amount of water.  I’m constantly reminding her to keep her mouth closed when she swims.  If she’s coughing in the pool, it’s time to assess damage – did she swallow a lot of water or breathe it in? 

Most important, however, is to make her aware of safety rules both in and out of the pool.  Those are the things that can help make a difference between a fun afternoon and managing a potentially life threatening situation.  And don’t be afraid to take the initiative to pass along safety information to other parents.  Don’t assume everyone has the same level of education on water safety.   Step in if you see a potential threat in or around water – even if it’s not your child.  Saving a life by saying, ‘No!’ before it’s too late is worth aggravating an unaware parent or guardian.

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2 Comments

  • Good point, Jennie! It only takes an INCH of water to drown. Parents shouldn't assume that a small pool is any safer than a big pool or lake. Children don't treat pools, even small pools like they do bathtubs. They'll walk and run and jump in and out and try out new "tricks" in them. It's important that children have supervision when playing in the water.

  • I completely agree! Pool size doesn't matter when it comes to drowning. I've had to help children who were in a as little as 2 feet of water. Being a lifeguard, I would never leave a child alone at a pool. Surprisingly many parents get lost in thought or conversation and they don't realize that a drowning can happen in a matter of seconds. I have had to jump in for a 3 year old who seemed to have no fear of water, but had no ability to swim. His parents were chatting about 2 feet away and had no idea that he went under. He only went under for a few seconds and just choked on a little bit of water, but his parents looked so surprised that it happened so quickly. It's dangerous when young kids are not hesitant about water when they have no ability to swim.

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