Nassau County Police Commissioner Lawrence W. Mulvey would like to remind county residents that water safety is something that all parents should be aware of. Drowning is the second leading cause of unintentional injury-related death among children ages 1 - 14. It can happen very quickly and in less than 1 inch (2.5 centimeters) of water, so filled bathtubs, swimming pools, wading pools, hot tubs, and even buckets of water and sinks can be dangerous.
To reduce your child's risk of drowning:
- Never leave a small child unattended in the bath. If you must answer the telephone or door, don't rely on an older sibling to watch the child, bring him or her with you.
- Never leave a small child unattended near a bucket filled with any amount of water or other liquid.
- Never use a bathtub seat with suction cups. The seat can overturn and flip a baby headfirst into the water.
- Install a toilet-lid locking device or keep bathroom doors closed at all times. (Or you may want to install a doorknob cover.)
- Never leave your children alone in or near the pool, even for a moment. An adult who knows CPR should actively supervise children at all times.
- Practice touch supervision with children younger than 5 years. This means that the adult is within an arm's length of the child at all times.
- If you are planning a pool party, consider hiring a certified lifeguard to supervise those who will be in the pool.
- Put up a fence to separate your house from the pool. Most young children who drown in pools wander out of the house and fall into the pool. Install a fence at least 4 feet high around the pool. This fence will completely separate the pool from the house and play area of the yard.
- Use gates that self-close and self-latch, with latches higher than your children's reach.
- Keep rescue equipment (such as a shepherd's hook or life preserver) and a telephone by the pool.
- Do not use air-filled "swimming aids" as a substitute for approved life vests.
- Remove all toys from the pool after use so children aren't tempted to reach for them.
- After the children are done swimming, secure the pool so they can't get back into it.
- A power safety cover that meets the standards of the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) may add to the protection of your children but should not be used in place of the fence between your house and the pool. Even fencing around your pool and using a power safety cover will not prevent all drownings.
Remember, teaching your child how to swim does not mean your child is safe in the water.
Nassau County Police Department
1490 Franklin Ave., Mineola, NY 11501