ANNAPOLIS, Md. — As schools begin to wrap their academic years, temperatures rise, and Marylanders look for a little fun and relief from the heat, swimming pools become more and more appealing.
But the Annapolis Fire Department is trying to remind residents of the potential risks pools present, particularly to children, who are at higher risk for drowning.
For children younger than 5 years old, 85 percent of all drownings occur in background pools in residential locations, according to data from the Consumer Protection Safety Commission’s 2018 Drowning Report, shared by the Annapolis Fire Department. Of the roughly 351 drowning deaths that occur each year, about 76 percent of them are children under 5 years old, and of the about 6,400 emergency room visits for nonfatal drownings each year, about 73 percent are for children younger than 5.
To mitigate these risks, the fire department recommends residents adhere to a list of safety precautions, including:
- Always swimming with a buddy; parents should make sure kids do not swim alone.
- Swim only in areas with designated supervisors or lifeguards, and make sure to supervise young children in the water keeping them no more than an arm’s length away.
- Never leave a child unsupervised in or around a pool.
- Consider installing a pool alarm that alerts when people enter the pool unexpectedly, and construct a minimum 4-foot tall fence/barrier/gate around the pool, making sure it can close or latch shut.
- Keep your pool clean using the proper administration of chemicals, so that it is clear enough to see into, and so that swimmers are not exposed to additional safety risks like waterborne pathogens or an overabundance of chemicals that can cause medical reactions.
- Keep toys that are not being used away from the edge of the pool so young children don’t play near the water.
- Avoid the consumption of alcohol near pools or when swimming.
- Make sure at least one person supervising children near the pool knows and can perform CPR. Those looking to become certified in CPR can contact the fire department for more information and potential courses.