Pool fences help prevent drownings
By Dr. Angela D’Alessandro, D.O.
This summer might go down as the hottest on record. To beat the heat, many families are turning to the water to cool off. Whether you’re planning a day at the beach or swimming in the backyard pool this summer, the American Academy of Pediatrics has tips to help keep your little ones safe around pools and hot tubs all year long.
After birth defects, drowning is the number one cause of death for children ages 1-4. Most drownings occur in at-home pools. Places like Florida and Arizona, where pools are common place, have the highest rates of drowning. Over a quarter of drownings in children under 4 took place at homes of friends, relatives, or neighbors. As parents, make sure the places where your child spends time also have appropriate safety precautions in place, most importantly, a pool fence. Unfortunately, there is still no national pool fence law.
Until that time, the American Academy of pediatrics recommends the following for pool fencing:
1. A full fence should be at least 4 feet high and completely surround the pool, separating it from the house, and the yard.
2. A pool fence should be climb proof. Ensure there is no patio furniture or other play equipment that a child could use to climb over the fence.
3. Ensure that a small child can’t squeeze through the fence. Vertical sides should have no more than 4 inches of space between them. This will also help keep your small pet safe too.
4. The pool fence should have a self-closing, self-latching gate which opens out, away from the pool area. The latch that should be at least 54 inches from the ground, out of a child’s reach.
5. Ensure that the gate is locked when the pool is not in use. It is also a good idea to keep toys out of the pool area when not in use.
Other safety measures can include pool alarms, door alarms, gate alarms, pool covers and window guards.
If your child is missing, always check the water first.
Considering the above, we can all enjoy the beautiful water around us here in Southwest Florida, while keeping our kids safe.
Dr. Angela D’Alessandro is a pediatrician with Physicians’ Primary Care of Southwest Florida) with offices throughout Lee County. www.ppcswfl.com