Health + Wellness

10 Essential Pool Safety Tips Every Black Family Should Know

pool safety

Swimming pools are a fantastic way to have fun, stay fit, and cool off during the hot summer months. However, it’s crucial to remember that pools also come with certain risks. Unfortunately, drowning rates are significantly higher in Black communities due to various historical, socioeconomic, and cultural factors. Here are 10 essential tips to ensure your family enjoys the pool safely while understanding the unique challenges faced by the Black community.

1. Understand the Risks

Drowning is a significant concern, particularly for Black children and adults. Knowing the risks is the first step to preventing accidents.

Statistical Overview

  • High Drowning Rates: According to the CDC, Black children ages five to 19 drown in swimming pools at rates 5.5 times higher than white children.
  • Recent Trends: Drowning rates have increased significantly since the COVID-19 pandemic. From 2020-2022, over 4,500 people drowned annually in the U.S., about 500 more per year compared to 2019.
  • Demographic Disparities: Black people and American Indian/Alaska Native individuals under 30 have drowning rates about twice as high as their white counterparts.
  • Lack of Swimming Skills: National survey data reveals that 55 percent of U.S. adults have never taken a swimming lesson, with lower participation rates among Black communities.

2. Start Swim Lessons Early

Enroll your children in swimming lessons as early as possible.

Kelly Larson, Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Injury Prevention Lead, emphasizes the importance of swimming instruction: “We plan to provide swim instruction to 20,000 children aged six to 15 in ten states.” 

Not sure where to start? Try community programs, which offer low-cost or free swimming lessons.

RELATED: Summer Safety: What You Need to Know for a Safe Swimming Season

3. Get Educated About Water Safety

Make sure everyone in your family knows basic water safety rules:

  • Never swim alone.
  • Stay within designated swimming areas.
  • Understand pool depth markers.

4. Install Pool Fencing

If you have a pool at home, consider surrounding it with a self-latching gate. This can prevent unsupervised access and reduce the risk of drowning.

“We want to take a hard look at some of the drowning prevention policies in the state… Is there four-sided pool fencing required?,” Larson adds.

5. Always Supervise Children

Children should always be supervised by an adult when in or near water. Designate a responsible adult as a “water watcher” to keep constant visual contact with swimmers. Even a momentary lapse in supervision can lead to tragedy.

6. Learn CPR

Knowing how to perform CPR can save lives in emergencies. Consider taking a CPR course and make sure other family members do too. Being prepared can make all the difference if an accident occurs.

7. Use Pool Covers and Alarms

Pool covers and alarms provide additional layers of protection. Ensure pool covers are secure and in good condition, and install alarms to alert you if someone enters the pool area.

8. Promote Water Safety in Your Community

Community swimming programs and safety workshops are beneficial in ensuring the whole family is fully prepared. 

“We are working with local organizations to provide swimming instruction and safety education, “Larson shares.

If your community doesn’t offer swimming programs, consider advocating for more public pools and accessible swimming programs in your area.

9. Understand the Impact of Historical and Socioeconomic Barriers

It’s important to recognize that limited access to swimming pools and lessons in Black communities stems from historical segregation and economic disparities. By understanding these barriers, we can work towards overcoming them and ensuring safer environments for future generations.

10. Stay Informed About Drowning Prevention Efforts

Bloomberg Philanthropies has committed $104 million globally to drowning prevention since 2012. This includes the additional $60 million the company recently invested. Stay in the loop with local and national efforts to prevent drowning and support water safety policies.

Drowning is a preventable tragedy, and taking these steps can help ensure your family enjoys the water safely.

“Ultimately, we want to fill the gap, demonstrate what can be done, and advocate for greater investment by local, state, or federal governments,” Larson concludes. By being proactive and informed, we can protect our loved ones and make swimming a fun and safe activity for everyone.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button