Red Cross offers safety tips for backyard pools

A child dies every five days in a portable backyard pool during summer months, according to a recent study.

The study, which was commissioned by Nationwide Children’s Hospital, was conducted by the Center for Inquiry Research and Policy in Columbus, Ohio, and examined data from 2001-09.

Almost all cases involved children younger than 5.

The Capital Area Chapter of the American Red Cross lists the following rules to help prevent drownings:

• Make water safety a priority. Ensure that everyone in the family learns how to swim well and children always ask permission to go near or in the water.

• Prevent unsupervised access to water. If you have a large portable pool, treat it like an above-ground pool. Remove access ladders and secure the safety cover when the pool is not in use. Install pool batteries, and empty and store smaller pools immediately after use.

• Maintain constant supervision. Never leave children unattended near water. Always stay within arm’s reach of young children and avoid distractions when supervising children around the water.

• Know what to do in an emergency. If a child is missing, check the water first. Make sure you are trained in CPA/AED and first aid so you know what to do in an emergency.

The Red Cross has a home pool essentials maintenance and safety online safety course that teaches the fundamentals of creating and maintaining a safe environment. They also sponsor learn-to-swim programs for ages 6 months through adult.

More information can be found at redcross.org.

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