Nassau County Executive Edward P. Mangano and Acting Police Commissioner Thomas C. Krumpter would like to remind county residents that water safety is something that all parents should be aware of. Drowning is the second leading cause of unintentional injury related death among children ages 1 – 14. It can happen very quickly and in less than 1 inch (2.5 centimeters) of water, so filled bathtubs, swimming pools, wading pools, hot tubs, and even buckets of water and sinks can be dangerous. To reduce your child’s risk of drowning:
Never leave a small child unattended in the bath. If you must answer the telephone or door, don’t rely on an older sibling to watch the child, bring the younger child with you.
- Never leave a small child unattended near a bucket filled with any amount of water or other liquid.
- Never use a bathtub seat with suction cups. The seat can overturn and flip a baby headfirst into the water.
- Install a toilet-lid locking device or keep bathroom doors closed at all times.
(Or you may want to install a doorknob cover.)
Never leave your children alone in or near the pool, even for a moment. Do not rely on older children to watch a younger child.
- Do not rely solely on safety aids such as water wings, arm bands or safety vests. Adult supervision is still necessary.
- Practice ‘touch supervision’ with children younger than 5 years. This means that an adult is within an arm’s length of the child at all times.
- If you are planning a pool party, consider hiring a certified lifeguard to supervise those who will be in the pool.
- When entertaining have adults gather facing the pool, more eyes means better safety.
- Encourage swimming with a buddy, never swim alone.
- Put up a fence to separate your house from the pool. The fence should at least 4 feet high around the pool. Use gates that self-close and self-latch, with latches higher than your children’s reach.
- Keep rescue equipment (such as a shepherd’s hook or life preserver) and a telephone by the pool.
- Do not use air-filled “swimming aids” as a substitute for approved life vests.
- Remove all toys from the pool after use so children aren’t tempted to reach for them.
- After the children are done swimming, secure the pool so they can’t get back into it.
- Drain Entrapment occurs when part of a child’s body becomes attached to a drain because of the powerful suction of a pool or hot tub filtration system. The powerful suction can trap a child underwater or cause internal injuries. It can also occur when a child’s hair, swimsuit or jewelry becomes entangled in the drain. Warn your children about the dangers of drain entrapment, and teach them never to play near a pool drain, with or without a cover.
- Pin up long hair when in the water and remove loose parts of swimsuits and loose jewelry that can get ensnared.
- Equip pools and hot tubs with an anti-entrapment drain cover and an approved safety vacuum release system and regularly check that drain covers are secure and have no cracks. Flat drain covers can be replaced with dome-shaped ones.
- Be aware of “kiddie” pools with missing or broken drain covers. Small children have direct access to the bottom drain in “kiddie” pools and sitting on open drains can cause serious internal organ damage.
- Learn CPR and first aid to prepare for emergencies.
Remember, teaching your child how to swim DOES NOT mean your child is safe in water. Most young children who drown in swimming pools were last seen in the home, had only been missing from sight for a matter of minutes, and were in the care of one or both parents at the time. There is no substitute for active adult supervision to prevent drowning.