Health Watch -- Kids Around the Pool

Health Watch is a Public Service of the Office of News and Publications and is intended to provide general information only and should not replace the advice of a medical professional. You should contact your physician if you have questions about any of these topics.


Keep your backyard pool from becoming a safety hazard - and your children from becoming a statistic.

A swimming pool seems like heaven to a child on a hot summer day. But children and water can also be a dangerous combination. More than 300 children die from drowning in the United States every year, and drowning is the second-leading cause of death among children in middle childhood, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. About 2,000 children end up in emergency rooms every year because of injuries related to being submerged in water.

Doctors at UT Southwestern Medical Center have some important tips for keeping your children safe around water:

Surround the pool with a fence that isolates it from the rest of the yard. That way, children can play in the yard without getting into the swimming pool - either deliberately or accidentally. Make sure the gate into the pool enclosure can't be opened by a child.

When children are in the pool enclosure, they should be supervised by an adult at all times. All adults and teens in the household should get certified in CPR. That includes babysitters, even if children won't be allowed in the pool when the babysitter is there.

Never leave a child unsupervised around a body of water deep enough to submerge the mouth and nose. That includes pools, spas and ponds. If a child is missing, check the pool first. That increases your chances of being able to rescue and revive a drowning child.

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Aug. 2004

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