An average of 87 children will die this year from drowning. Learn How.

Few things frighten me more than the image of a child drowning. I am fortunate enough to have a pool in my suburban NY backyard. And though we have a tall pool fence with a strong magnetic lock, I still get nervous….endlessly so. What if my daughter uses a toy or a chair to climb over the fence without us knowing? What if some other kid happens to come into the yard without me knowing? I love the pool but I also hate it.

For this reason, over the summer, my wife and I officially imposed a new rule. My daughter would never be outside unattended. We never allowed this anyways so this rule was a no-brainer and more of a formality. However, somehow stating it, reaffirming it, allowed my wife and I to acknowledge its importance once we opened our pool in late spring. Ava’s grown a lot in the past year and, at the same time, she’s become more mischievous  It’s a dangerous combination. She definitely doesn’t grasp danger as other six year olds might. And, that is what scares the heck out of me.

Our second rule was directly related to the first rule and involves our house alarm. We have a sliding patio door which leads to our backyard. Unfortunately, I have been unable to figure out how to install a lock, that my daughter can’t open and which will not completely ruin the door and void its warranty. At this point, I have no problem ruining things in the name of safety.  I have bolted gates or furniture straps to everything imaginable in our house. That’s not the point. I just don’t want to have to replace the entire door. I already had to do that last year and it made for several unpleasant weekends and a bill that I would rather not pay again!

More to the point, I need something which is effective. As such, my wife and I took another route. We decided to always arm our house alarm. If a door opens without the alarm being disarmed, the whole neighborhood is going to know. I feel like I live in Ft. Knox. It only took my daughter setting it off twice (Please accept my apologies, dear alarm company) to have the bejeezus scared out of her.

And so, it was worth celebrating, for the peace that it brought, when the pool company came and closed my pool today.

But wait, not so fast! The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) warns of children drowning in bathtubs, bath seats and buckets.

Did you see the movie “Ray“? If so, do you remember that horrific scene when a young Ray Charles watches his younger brother drown after falling into a laundry tub? If not, consider yourself grateful. It’s a deeply disturbing scene.

More importantly, realize that drowning hazards are not only associated with swimming pools. An average of 87 children will die this year drowning in bathtubs, bath seats or buckets. Read the full notice and then share this page with other parents.

Photo credit: CPSC

Author: Kevin Mulligan

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  • Donna Maringelli Tine

    this scares me more then anything too – we’re looking to buy a new home and I desperately want a pool, but I am also slightly petrified at the thought.  If we get one I will be getting a loop loc cover and the fencing and alarming the doors too.  

    And I did not see the movie Ray and I most definitely would fast forward through that scene if I ever do – that would give me nightmares for the rest of my life.  Just the thought of that gives me chills.

  • Kevin Mulligan

    Pools are great, Donna. The older my girls get, the more they enjoy it. This summer, my wife and I could put both girls in the pool and actually have a conversation, without getting interrupted, while watching them. It was pure bliss. But yes…they do require vigilance on the safety front. Next year, I will likely install some sort of pool alarm.