SIDNEY – Warm weather brings fun and the sun, and obviously one of the most popular summer activities is swimming, but families need to be aware of the dangers around pools.
“A child can drown in the time it takes to answer your phone, so it’s a relatively short time,” Shelby County Sheriff John Lenhart said during his weekly interview.
Drowning is the leading cause of death and injuries for children younger than 5 in the United States and the second leading cause of death and injury for children younger than 15.
A swimming pool is 14 times more likely than a motor vehicle to be involved in the death of a child 4 or younger, and each year 5,000 children younger than 14 are hospitalized for near drowning events.
“Eighty percent of those drownings occur in residential pools,” Lenhart said.
With the dangers of swimming pools, adults need to be prepared to ensure their children’s safety.
The YMCA recommends all children take swimming lessons. Locally, the Sidney-Shelby County YMCA will offer swimming lessons June 3-6. The deadline to register is June 2.
While around a pool, adults need to make sure they’re always watching their children.
“Always watch your children when they’re in a pool, and if there are multiple adults around take turns watching them,” Lenhart said.“If a child becomes missing the first place you want to look is that pool area.”
Flotation devices, a first aid kit and an item to cut a pool cover should always be kept in the vicinity of a pool.
“Don’t rely on fun tools such as water wings or noodles to keep your child safe,” Lenhart said.
Adults also need to remain up to date on first aid procedures.
“We recommend to all adults to learn CPR on children and update those skills regularly,” Lenhart said.
Anyone who has a pool at their home also should consider purchasing a pool or gate alarm.
“Those are really nice, and they’re relatively inexpensive,” Lenhart said.
Individuals should never run on a pool deck, should never push anyone into a pool and shouldn’t dive into a pool.
“Diving is not recommended at all,” Lenhart said.
Individuals also should wear sun screen and need to remain aware of weather conditions while in a pool.
“In our area here storms come up pretty quick,” Lenhart said.
It’s recommended that pool owners have insurance, and they should be aware that homeowner’s insurance doesn’t always cover pools.
While pools can be dangerous, families also can have a lot of fun. Activities such as basketball, volleyball, Marco Polo, cannonballs, chicken fights and diving for coins can be safe ways to enjoy the water.
“Above all, stay safe out there,” Lenhart said. “Have fun.”
The Sidney Daily News conducts a weekly interview to update readers with news from the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office, 555 Gearhart Road, Sidney.