The tragic drowning death of an Orange County toddler this week causes us to once again focus on the dangers of an unprotected swimming pool. The 2 year-old boy who was thought to be taking a nap was found at the bottom a swimming pool and later died at the hospital.
The agony that this family must now be going through is all too common. According the Orlando Sentinel, there were 441 children under the age of 5 who died in Florida by accidental drowning in Florida from 2001 to 2006.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) says that there is no one solution to preventing a child from drowning in your pool. It takes multiple layers of protection to keep your child safe. Some preventative measures you can take include a pool fence surrounding the pool with a self-closing, self-locking gate; alarms on the doors facing the pool so you will know if a child has exited to the pool area; remove all floating toys from the pool which may attract young children; and if a child goes missing, always check the bottom of the pool first.
Of course, there is no preventative measure that replaces constant supervision of your child when playing outside. You may think that it’s okay to run in to answer the phone because it will only take a minute and you’ll hear if something bad is going on. The CPSC warns us, however, that you should never rely on hearing splashing or screaming from a child who has slipped into the pool. "Many times children slip under the water silently. Even people near the pool often report hearing nothing out of the ordinary."
As the first of Spring approaches and the pool temperatures in Florida begin to rise, so should your vigilence in protecting your child from drowning in your pool. Perform a safety check in and around the pool area. If you’re not sure what you need or what you should look for, you can find the CPSC pool safety barrier guidelines at http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/pubs/pool.pdf.