I’m a sucker for sunny days. I just love taking in the savory aromas of bbq on the grill, vibing to bops playing in the background, while lying poolside watching my daughters jump from blazing hot cement into a huge, chlorine-filled tub of water leaving unsuspecting, soaked victims wiping their chlorine drenched eyes! It reminds me of my best memories as a young girl in Compton, CA at my papa’s house as the grown-folks laughed, enjoyed a libation or ten, ate and danced (seriously, cue The Fresh Prince’s “Summertime”). Now, imagine this same type of scenery with a not-so-happy ending…
Imagine a father, crying inconsolably next to his toddler-aged daughter after rendering, seemingly endless, yet unsuccessful, CPR to her lifeless body.
Imagine this father, a physician, moments earlier enjoying a, sunny-day, pool party in his home alongside friends and family listening to music, dancing, eating and just enjoying each other. All it takes is a minute of distraction. All it takes on one second for a child to go under.
Flashback to those summer days in Compton; I also remember always seeing one or two grown-folk on the sidelines, shades on, with their head positioned, unwavering, towards the pool, seemingly oblivious to all the partying going on around them. At the time I thought they were just weird party poopers. Years later, I came to realize they were acting as designated lifeguards, ready to pull a drifting arm or jump in at the first sign of a struggling swimmer.
This is not mentioned to shame my old colleague (the father mentioned above) who tragically lost his daughter. Even with the best precautions and intentions in place (as he undoubtedly had) accidents can victimize anyone. I’m simply highlighting an alternate scenario to promote child safety.
In the US drowning is the 2nd leading cause of unintentional injury deaths for children 1-14 years of age.
Even more concerning are these facts:
- Blacks are 5.5 times more likely to drown in swimming pools than whites.
- Not surprising seeing as how 64% of African Americans, and 45% of Hispanic children have no/low swimming abilities compared to 40% of Caucasian children.
- Every day 3 children die from drowning.
I list these facts not to instill fear, but to highlight the seriousness of pool safety. It’s summertime so many of us will be heading to pool parties with our kids trailing behind (or eagerly leading the way)! So here are a few tips to keep those sunny days safe, and filled with happy memories:
- No Distractions– Make sure there is always at least one sober, non-distracted( ie. no texting, scrolling, dancing, and drinking) adult watching the kiddos splashing in the pool.
- Fence It Up– Keep those swimming pools isolated, on all sides, by a self-closing/latching fence.
- Life Jackets– This is a must for those munchkins who haven’t learned to swim, as well as those newer, weaker swimmers in and around the pool. Life vests should be worn by ALL kids in and around beaches, lakes and rivers.
- Formal Swimming Lessons– Get your kids swimming lessons already! And if you don’t know how to swim, lead by example and get lessons too! Check neighborhood resources such as the YMCA or USA Swimming Foundation for budget friendly classes.
- Learn CPR– If you’re a parent, aunt, uncle, sibling, cousin, babysitter, teacher, or friend to little ones, then it’s a good idea to learn basic CPR. Basic CPR classes instruct on the basic emergent actions to increase likelihood of survival from drowning, choking, heart attack and lack of breathing until an ambulance arrives. You do not need to be a health professional to take a basic CPR class.
Along with the tips mentioned above, listed below are links to websites with a ton of information on how to keep your family safe this summer. Drop a comment and let me know a favorite childhood summertime memory, or how you plan to keep your friends and family safe this summer! Let’s keep in touch: like, share and subscribe to my blog! 😙
Receipts AKA Facts/Resources
Basic CPR (non-healthcare professional)