What You Need to Know
According to the Orange County Fire Authority, drowning accidents are the leading cause of injury/deaths among children younger than 5 years old.
More than 80 percent of the drownings occur in residential backyard pools or spas. It can happen quickly, without warning, without a splash and without a cry for help. For more drowning prevention information, watch the Orange County Fire Authority’s video, available in English, Mandarin, Spanish and Vietnamese. Below are several pool safety tips to help keep you and your families safe.
Secure the Pool Area
- Professionally install a pool fence that is five feet high around around all four sides of the pool. The fence should not have openings. Tables, chairs, tree branches or other protrusions should be moved away from the fence to prevent a young child from getting over, under or through the fence.
- Gates should be self-closing and self-latching, opening outward, away from the pool. The gate latch should be placed at the top of the gate and be inaccessible from the outside by small children.
- All doors and windows leading to the pool should always be secured and locked at all times.
- Additional “layers of protection” include safety covers, alarms on doors, and motion-detection devices.
- Safety equipment such as a ring buoy and shepherd’s crook should always be available.
Always Have Adult Supervision
- Swim lessons, flotation devices and safety equipment should never be substitutes for proper adult supervision at all times. Twenty-five percent of all drowning victims have had swimming lessons.
- Never leave children alone in or near the pool, even for a moment.
- Assign an adult "water watcher" to supervise the pool/spa area, especially during social gatherings.
- Babysitters and guardians should always be instructed about potential hazards in and around the pool.
- If a child is missing, check the pool first.
What You Can Do
- Set water safety rules for the whole family before entering the water, including:
- Always enter the water feet first and look before you leap.
- Swim with a buddy in a supervised area. Never swim alone.
- Avoid entrapment; suction from pool and spa drains can trap a swimmer under water.
- Do not use a pool or spa if there are broken or missing drain covers.
- Do not let children sit or play on pool drains.
- Keep toys away from the pool when not in use to prevent young children from falling in after a toy.
- Keep a telephone outside the pool area. Post the 9-1-1 emergency number on the telephone.