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Texas Drowning Prevention Alliance - ABC's of Water Safety
A is for Adult Supervision:
  • Remember the #1 Water Safety Rule: "Never ever swim alone!"
  • Always WATCH your swimmers, especially at a public pool!
  • Hire a certified lifeguard for pool parties whenever kids are present.
  • Tragedies often occur when a caregiver is at home and there is a lapse of supervision.

B is for Barriers (for your pool):

  • The first line of defense is to install and use "Layers of Protection".
  • Perimeter fences must me non-climbable, four-sided, and a minimum of 60 inches high.
  • Isolation fences must separate the pool/spa from the residence with openings no more than 4 inches wide to children can't squeeze through the spaces. They must be non-climbable, four-sided, and a minimum of 48 inches high. 60 inches is recommended.
  • Gates must be kept closed and never propped open
  • Doors, windows, and gates must be locked, self-closing, and self-latching.
  • Tables / chairs / planters must be moved away from the pool.
  • Floating toys, balls, and sinking toys left in the pool are enticing.

C is for Classes (Swim Lessons and CPR):

  • Enroll your children in proven swimming lessons until they have mastered the 4 competitive strokes, treading water, sidestroke, and floating. Ask your friends for referrals.
  • CPR skills have saved lives and prevented brain damage until assistance arrives. All caregivers should be required to become CPR certified.

D is for Devices (poles, ring buoy, rescue tube, first air kit, and cell phone):

  • Keep a cell phone by the pool whenever you are there.
  • Post 911 emergency number, home phone number, and address by a phone.
  • Purchase a lightening detector or get out of the water when threatening weather looms.

Drowning can be prevented. Contrary to what most people believe, drowning is a quick and silent killer. In the time it takes to get a towel (10 seconds), a child can become submerged. The majority of drowning occur in family pools. 

General Drowning Prevention
  • Supervise When in or Around Water: Designate a responsible adult to watch young children while in the bath and all children swimming or playing in or around water. Supervisors of preschool children should provide “touch supervision”, be close enough to reach the child at all times. Because drowning occurs quickly and quietly, adults should not be involved in any other distracting activity (such as reading, playing cards, talking on the phone, or mowing the lawn) while supervising children, even if lifeguards are present.
  • Use the Buddy System: Always swim with a buddy. Select swimming sites that have lifeguards when possible.
  • Seizure Disorder Safety: If you or a family member has a seizure disorder, provide one-on-one supervision around water, including swimming pools. Consider taking showers rather than using a bath tub for bathing. Wear life jackets when boating.
  • Learn to Swim: Formal swimming lessons can protect young children from drowning. However, even when children have had formal swimming lessons, constant, careful supervision when children are in the water, and barriers, such as pool fencing to prevent unsupervised access, are still important.
  • Learn Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR): In the time it takes for paramedics to arrive, your CPR skills could save someone’s life.
  • Air-Filled or Foam Toys are not safety devices: Don’t use air-filled or foam toys, such as "water wings", "noodles", or inner-tubes, instead of life jackets. These toys are not life jackets and are not designed to keep swimmers safe.
  • Avoid Alcohol: Avoid drinking alcohol before or during swimming, boating, or water skiing. Do not drink alcohol while supervising children.
  • Don’t let swimmers hyperventilate before swimming underwater or try to hold their breath for long periods of time: This can cause them to pass out (sometimes called “shallow water blackout”) and drown.
  • Know the local weather conditions and forecast before swimming or boating: Strong winds and thunderstorms with lightning strikes are dangerous.
  • Texas Drowning Prevention Alliance is a non-profit organization that provides educational materials and resources to families, pediatricians, and communities to save lives. We need your help!
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