With summer upon us, people of all ages will be filling pools across the country to cool off, splash around, and hang out with friends and family. However, with all that fun in the sun, comes great responsibility.
Approximately 175 children drowned in swimming pools or spas last summer — the majority of them younger than age 5, according to the USA Swimming Foundation. The numbers were even worse in 2013, with about 200 children from the ages of 1 to 14 drowning in spas or swimming pools.
Colin Holst was one such tragic story. In 2007, swimming began to click for the 4-year-old boy. He had demonstrated progress during his annual lessons, and his skills had steadily improved: staying underwater longer, kicking his feet, and blowing bubbles. One day, Colin went to a pool he had never visited before. All the kids in his group were playing and ducking in and out of the water, and then, Colin suddenly disappeared.
The adults frantically searched for him, and when they finally pulled Colin out from the shallow water, he was unconscious and not breathing. Sadly, they couldn’t revive him and he died the next day. In his honor, the organization Colin’s Hope was founded, with the mission to raise water safety awareness to prevent children from drowning.
Steps to Take to Prevent a Tragedy
Parents, lifeguards, facility managers, parks and recreation directors, and camp directors and staff all play a role in keeping children safe and avoiding tragedies from happening this summer. Here are some simple steps that can save a life:
- Don’t leave children unattended in the pool and always watch them when they’re in or near water.
- Teach kids basic water safety tips, and learn how to swim yourself if you don’t know how to already.
- To avoid children from getting trapped, make sure they stay away from pipes, pool drains, and other any openings.
- Have a phone nearby in case you need to make an emergency call.
- If a child goes missing, first check the pool.
- Learn the live-saving fundamentals and how to perform CPR on adults and children. These skills should be updated on a regular basis.
- If possible, install at least a 4-foot high fence around the pool, as well as use gates that are self-latching and self-closing. Also install alarms by the pool and on the gate that sound when people go near the water.
AquaClimb: A Water Safety Leader
Water safety is something that AquaClimb takes extremely seriously. Our poolside climbing walls, specifically designed to eliminate situations that can cause injury when diving and sliding, are recommended by the Aquatic Safety Research Group and approved by many state and local health departments, as well as major health and safety organizations like PlaySafe LLC.
To learn more about the safe use of our poolside climbing walls, contact the Aquatic Safety Research Group or AquaClimb. And for more info about Colin’s Hope or to donate to the non-profit organization, visit www.colinshope.org. Donations help to raise water safety awareness and fund programs that aid in drowning prevention.