Backyard Pool and Waterfront Safety
By Kerin Morgan, Owner Morgan Swim School – Richmond, VA
One of our greatest aquatic concerns is the lack of responsibility the pool industry has taken for educating pool owners with how dangerous a pool can be. Last year’s statistics showed that drowning is the #1 cause of accidental death in Virginia for children under 14!! In my “Mom/Dad n Me” class, I tell parents that the side of water is like an interstate highway, and is always dangerous to a child until they swim independently.
Often pool owners or people with homes on water, resort to putting children in swim vests or suits with flotation devices but the children do not come to understand what they can and cannot do in the water independent of them. Many children that drown have experienced premature independence in the water with a flotation device on and then gone and entered the water not realizing they could not swim independently. Children need to know their limitations and they need to be taught strict boundaries similar to the training we give them as they approach a street. Water is never to be approached without permission and a responsible person right there or in the water!
The other problem comes in not having adults assigned to supervise the water when there is a crowd of people. A responsible and trustworthy person should always be assigned to pool duty when there is a gathering of people around water. These ways the adults who are easily engaged in conversation and other distractions can rest, knowing one person has been assigned to watch. It is even worth hiring a guard or baby sitter specifically to watch kids at a water function.
We also encourage all adults with waterfront homes or pools in their backyard to know CPR. It is easy to attain and does save lives. MSS supports the Safer Three coalition that encourages Safer Water- Safer kids- And Safer Response. More information is available at www.safer3.org .
Article approved for use by: Kerin Morgan United States Swim School Association