El Paso County Sheriff’s Office
3850 Justice Dr., El Paso, Texas 79938
Public Information Officer, Mariano Valle
Office: (915) 538-2119
“We Serve With Pride”
For a lot of El Paso County residents, summer time means having fun at the pool. Even though it is a great way to cool off and have fun, it is important that everyone stay safe in and around swimming pools. Often times people don’t realize the dangers that exist around pools. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, children ages 1 to 4 have the highest drowning rates in the United States. So how can anyone have fun and stay safe at the same time? By following these simple rules:
1. Swim where there is a lifeguard (or responsible parent) on duty.
· Many people think about this when it comes to an apartment, community or hotel pool, but what about when your child swims at a friend's house? Making sure an adult is monitoring the pool at all times is important. Even strong swimmers can get overwhelmed especially when distracted by playing with a buddy.
2. Small doesn't mean safe.
· Small child pools can be just as dangerous as large pools. It is recommended that the same safety precautions for both include safety covers and fences. Children need to be monitored at all times no matter the size of the space they are splashing in.
3. Don’t allow running.
· Running on slippery surfaces is dangerous for everyone around. Someone could fall into the pool, accidentally push a smaller child into the water or hit the slick pool deck causing injury. Don't forget to set a good example!
4. Wear sunscreen.
· Even if kids are outside for just a few minutes, they are prone to sunburn. There is sunscreen swim gear that now can be found almost anywhere swimming suits are sold.
5. Don't step away.
· Leaving to do a chore or to answer a phone call could be a snap decision with bad consequences. If something really needs your attention, call a swim break. Everyone out of the pool and indoors for a safety pause.
6. Set boundaries.
· If you are in charge, don't be afraid to take charge. Showing kids where the deeper parts of the pool are before they enter is always a good idea. Taking kids on a "pool tour" to see where they can touch and where the easiest way to an edge is can help them find safe splashing places. Very small children should NEVER be in a pool without an adult, even if it seems shallow.
7. Be a party-pooper.
· Nobody wants the fun to end, but if you notice kids getting tired, it is time to take a water break. Drinking plenty of water. Sometimes this is overlooked with all that water in the pool, but dehydration is a real possibility even when swimming.
8. Assign an adult to watch the little ones
· One of the most common situations that leads to tragedy is the “But I thought you were watching her” scenario. Be clear about who’s watching your children.
9. Avoid distractions
· Put away the cell phone. According to the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, 88 percent of young drowning victims were under some form of supervision at the time they drowned — and in 46 percent of cases, the child who drowned was under the supervision of both parents. So stay close by — in the pool if necessary, depending on the age of your child – and don’t let yourself look away, even for a minute.
10. Take toys out of the pool when not in use
Colorful styrofoam “noodles” and blow up toys look awfully tempting floating out there in the water, and all it takes for an accident to happen is for a child to lean an inch too far out over the water. So remove all toys from the pool when kids get out of the water and put them away.