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Children's Health

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Backyard and Playground Safety

Keep your children’s fun safe by following these safety guidelines for backyard, pool, and playground


Water and pool safety

Drowning is a leading cause of accidental death in children, and pools are not the only hazards. Any body of water is dangerous to a young child. Never leave children unattended around wading pools, hot tubs, fountains, small streams, ponds, wells, postholes, or ditches. Children can also drown in large buckets of water and in coolers filled with water from melted ice, so empty such containers after every use.

If you have a pool in your backyard, follow these guidelines:

  • Surround the pool with a fence that is at least 48 inches high. Check with your city or county for additional requirements regarding pool fencing, covers, or alarm systems.
  • Never leave a small child alone in or near a pool or spa/hot tub, even for a minute. A child can drown in less than three minutes.
  • Keep toys, tricycles, wagons, and balls away from the pool. Children may attempt to retrieve toys that fall into the water and then fall in themselves.
  • Keep electrical appliances (such as radios) away from the poolside as they pose a shock hazard if wet.
  • A pool cover should cover the pool completely and attach to the patio floor so children cannot slip under it. Choose a pool cover that is designed for safety — not simply a cover that is designed to maintain the pool temperature.
  • A hot tub should have a locking cover that you put on whenever the hot tub is not in use.
  • Empty “baby” pools and put them away after every use, because they can fill with rain or water from sprinklers.

Keep these essential safety items near your home pool:

  • A telephone or cell phone and phone numbers for emergency services
  • A poster with safety and CPR instructions
  • Shepherd’s hook, safety ring, and rope

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Reviewed on June 01, 2007

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