Experts offer swimming safety guide ahead of pools opening

Published: May. 16, 2022 at 8:56 PM CDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - Many people will be opening their pools soon or getting ready to hit the public pools.

There are safety tips parents need to keep in mind ahead of bringing their kids to the pool.

As the summer months quickly approach, the Greene County Sheriff's Office wants you to be aware and stay safe...

Posted by Greene County Sheriff's Office on Thursday, May 12, 2022

Mercy’s EMS medical director Dr. Tom Lewis says drowning is one of the leading causes of death, and prevention is critical.

”Toddlers can drown in as little as 20 seconds, and you think about how quickly 20 seconds is that your kid gets out of your sight,” Dr. Lewis says.

One of the best things to do is have a fence or barrier around the pool. Dr. Lewis says that’s a big problem in kiddy pools because they are usually left unprotected.

“These drownings we see in kids less than four years of age are often in a small kiddy pool in their backyard,” Dr. Lewis says.

Amanda Oldham is a mom of five and says supervision is crucial.

When at the pool with her kids, Oldham says she makes sure her phone is always put away and doesn’t have any distractions.

“The issue I see is the roughhousing,” Oldham says. “Playing the chicken game and going underwater, their knees are still up here, and they’re hanging off the backside, so that’s more of a concern. Not trying to be too rowdy at the pool or doing the backflips and accidentally hit your head.”

Oldham says pool time isn’t relaxing for her. Instead, her head is constantly on a swivel, making sure her kids are safe.

“I don’t go anywhere unless my mom is here or I have a friend with me because literally even doing this right now, I have to look this way to make sure she’s okay, and nothing’s happening because you just don’t know,” Oldham says.

One of the best ways to prevent drowning is to teach your kids how to swim.

Ben Wooten owns Tiny Fins Survival Swim, which focuses on instructing a child on what to do if they fall into a pool.

“We teach them how to get to their float, how to calm themselves, and how to be able to float,” Wooten says. “If they’re under a certain age, they’re just going to float and wait for help, but once they get to a certain age, we teach them how to basically save themselves.”

Another thing Wooten recommends is an alarm.

“For doors, windows, gates, anything that can get to the pool area,” Wooten says.

If you’re supervising, Dr. Lewis says do not drink alcohol. He says alcohol is involved in almost one-third of all drownings.

“We always want to be cautious in the use of alcohol whether it’s adults using alcohol and you’re supervising a child or whether it’s other people swimming,” Dr. Lewis says.

It’s also important to know how to respond if there’s an emergency, including having someone at the pool who knows CPR.

“It will help kids survive potential near-drowning events, so it’s better they’re educated,” Dr. Lewis says.

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