Pool-side rescue equipment, including a ring buoy with an attached line and/or a light, strong, rigid pole not less than 12 feet long, should be available to assist in removing the child from the water. This equipment should never be used for play.
Emergency procedures should be clearly written and posted in the pool or spa/hot tub area.
This brochure focuses on guidelines related to preventing drowning accidents and dealing with emergencies related to infants and children. It is designed to give you general guidelines, but it is not intended as, nor can it fully substitute for “hands-on” training in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and other emergency procedures.
All family members who reside in a home with a swimming pool, spa, or hot tub should become familiar with the guidelines for how to perform CPR for both adults and children.
The guidelines for children are somewhat different from those for adults. Therefore, if you have infants and/or children ages 8 and under—or if such children regularly and routinely visit your household—it is especially important for you to learn proper emergency procedures, including CPR.
CPR is the combination of techniques that includes rescue breathing and artificial circulation. Rescue breathing is used for respiratory arrest—when breathing stops. Chest compressions are used along with rescue breathing when there is no pulse and the heart stops beating.
Training in CPR is generally available in your community from groups such as the American Heart Association, the American Red Cross, and professional fire department personnel. You and your family members have the responsibility to learn and practice CPR to protect your own children, your friends, and loved ones.
Preventing an emergency is the best preparation: Never leave a child alone in or near a swimming pool, spa, or any other body of water!
Remember, it is not just swimming pools that are potentially dangerous. An infant or child can drown in any body of water, including spas and hot tubs. Drownings have even occurred in bathtubs, toilets, and buckets. Vigilant supervision of infants and children is essential.
These guidelines have been written to help you prepare for what to do if and when a drowning accident should occur involving an infant or child. In the vast majority of incidents of near drowning, you can save the life of the infant or child by using rescue breathing techniques.
There are also guidelines for cardiac support, in those cases where no pulse or heartbeat is present. But performing these techniques requires extreme care and “hands-on” practice in a CPR instruction course. Please learn and practice CPR.
If an accident happens, you should first determine if the child is conscious and breathing by seeing if he/she responds to gentle shaking. Be especially careful if the child may have sustained head or neck trauma so as not to cause spinal cord injury.
But even if the child is conscious, or if you have any doubts whatsoever, you should immediately call “911” or the emergency medical services number in your area.
If the child is unconscious, follow the procedures below.
Stay with the child while someone else calls “911” or other EMS number in your area. If you are alone and the child is obviously not breathing, try one minute of CPR rescue breathing techniques before leaving the child to call for help.
If there is evidence of head and neck injury, use extreme caution in moving the child and keep in mind that the child must be turned as a unit with firm support of the head and neck so the head does not roll, twist, or tilt.