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What all parents need to know about pool safety for their kids

Summer is here and with families quarantined at home, the backyard is replacing the beach for many of us.

Whether your pool is inflatable, above ground or in-ground, water play and swimming can turn your backyard into a place the whole family wants to be but safety experts want parents to be aware that drowning hurts more families than we realize.

Drowning is actually a leading cause of death worldwide. The World Health Organization notes that "globally, the highest drowning rates are among children 1–4 years, followed by children 5–9 years." In the United States, drowning ranks fifth among the leading causes of unintentional injury death.

According to the CDC, there are about 10 non-boating related drownings in America every day. One in five people who die from drowning are kids under 14, and for every fatal childhood drowning, another five kids are rushed to a hospital and survive their submersion injuries.

Parents should assign a designated watcher

During a pool party or a cookout there's a lot going on, and it's natural to get distracted. That's why the Mayo Clinic recommends parents and adults at such gatherings take turns tapping in as the "designated watcher" and fully focus on the kids playing in or around a pool.

A survey by Safe Kids Worldwide found that many parents (48%) believe they would hear splashing, crying or screaming if their child was in danger in the pool, but submersion injuries actually tend to happen silently, so watching is better than keeping an ear out. Kids under four are particularly vulnerable to drowning, so they should be kept within arms reach of when swimming in a pool.

Take swimming lessons (but still supervise)

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, "children over age one may be at a lower risk of drowning if they have had some formal swimming instruction. However, there is no evidence that swimming lessons or water survival skills courses can prevent drowning in babies younger than one year of age."

While it is true that swimming lessons are no substitute for adult supervision, infant swimming lessons are a good way to introduce your child (and maybe give yourself a refresher course) on the basics of water safety.

Infant self-rescue swimming lessons (which aim to teach babies how to roll onto their back and float) are popular with parents, but have attracted controversy in recent years and safety experts don't want parents to feel overconfident in a child's ability after taking such a course.

"Parents may think they won't have to supervise as closely," Barbara Morrongiello, a professor with the University of Guelph who studies drowning prevention, told Global News. Morrongiello notes that swim lessons for toddlers can help the children become confident in the water, but she doesn't want parents to get overconfident.

Install fences and barriers

According to the CDC, most drownings of kids under four happen in backyard pools, so if you've got a pool, barriers should be a top priority. According to Parachute, a charity dedicated to injury prevention, "a fence which provides a complete barrier around all sides of a pool may prevent seven out of 10 drownings to children under five years of age."

Indeed, many pool drownings don't happen when the family is together, but when a child has somehow accessed the pool during a time they were not expected to. That's why "self-closing and self-latching gates that open outward with latches that are out of reach of children," and "additional barriers such as automatic door locks and alarms to prevent access or alert you if someone enters the pool area," are important, according to the CDC.

For more backyard pool safety tips, check out redcross.org.

[A version of this post was originally published June 12, 2018.]

We're so glad to live in a time when modern baby gear exists. Sure, no one is going to argue that having a baby is easy—but it can be easier with support from some gadgets designed to help your baby and put your mind at ease.

As you build your baby registry, look for products that go the extra mile to make your life a whole lot easier. For example, what's better than a bassinet? A bassinet that can rock by itself. And what's better than a traditional baby monitor? One that allows you to actually take a peek at your baby. Believe us when we say these upgrades can make all the difference.

Here are 10 baby gadgets that will make your life so much easier… relatively speaking, of course!


A bassinet to promote safe + sound sleep

HALO Innovations Bassinest Swivel Sleeper Essenta Series Nautical Net

The safest place for your newborn to sleep is in your room, but not in your bed. Thanks to the swivel function of the Halo Bassinest, you can easily tend to your baby during the night—which means more sleep for you, too. Trust us when we say that is the best gift you can give a new parent.

$239.99

A smart swing for your baby

4moms mamaRoo 4 Bluetooth Enabled High-Tech Baby Swing - Classic

Believe it or not, many babies are born with strong opinions about how they want to be rocked, swung or shushed to calm down. With the mamaRoo's various motions and reclining positions, you'll be able to find a setting your baby loves when you need to free up your hands for a bit.

$219.99

A complete travel system for car + sidewalk

Chicco Bravo Travel System - Indigo

No matter where the day takes you—or what mode of transportation you need to get there—getting a complete travel system for your baby will equip you for anything.

$379.99

A swaddle you don’t have to wrestle

Love To Dream Swaddle UP Original

What do babies and Harry Houdini have in common? A knack for breaking out of tight constraints—which can be a headache when swaddling is the best way to help promote good sleep. Thanks to a breakout-proof swaddle that allows your baby to sleep with their hands up, you don't have to work up a sweat just to get your baby comfortably swaddled.

$29.99

A nursery wherever you need it

Baby Trend Lil Snooze Deluxe II Nursery Center

During the early days of parenting (when you are feeding and changing your baby around the clock), having convenient access to everything you need with a go-anywhere nursery station can save you serious time and energy.

$99.99

A little help for stuffy noses

Fridababy NoseFrida Nasal Aspirator

Up until the point years down the road when your child is able to blow their own nose, the sniffles can be a real struggle—but not with a nasal aspirator that makes it easy for you to get that snot out of their nose.

$15.99

A way to keep an eye on your baby

VTech 5" Digital Video Baby Monitor - VM5251

Trust us when we say you'll sleep better when you know your baby is also sleeping soundly. That's why we're so thankful for modern-day video monitors, which allow you to check in on your sleeping baby without running the risk of waking them up when you sneak in for a peek.

$79.99

A bassinet for hands-free rocking

Simmons Kids Silent Auto Gliding Elite Bassinet - Odyssey

Babies are soothed by rocking motions. But what does that mean for you if you can't rock them throughout the night? With an auto-gliding bassinet, they can comfortably drift off to sleep... and continue snoozing.

$99.99

An easy way to contain diaper smells

Diaper Genie Expressions Pail

Sometimes it's the little conveniences that make a big difference in the quality of your day-to-day life. That's why a great diaper pail should not be undervalued: By containing the smell, you will save yourself dozens upon dozens of trips to the garbage can.

$24.99

A white noise machine that pulls double duty

Hatch Rest Sound Machine, Night Light & Time-to-Rise

A phone-controlled sound machine may be something you never considered until now, but it will be a major lifesaver for years to come, especially as it can also function as a time-to-rise clock that promotes good sleep habits for your child.

$59.99

And as for securing all these awesome products? Well, a Target baby registry is the way to do it. By creating your baby registry with Target, you will also enjoy their Year of Benefits registry program, which includes perks like a welcome kit with more than $100 in savings and samples, two 15% off coupons to complete your registry, and a full year of returns. The benefits are better than ever right now: Target just launched the Year of Exclusive Deals perk as one of its registry benefits, and this includes a year's worth of discounts on baby essentials (think diapers and formula) and comes complementary when you sign up for Target Circle.

Because while parenting may not be "easy," deciding to register with Target definitely is an easy decision. Start your Target baby registry now and enjoy shopping with a Year of Benefits featuring a Year of Exclusive Deals available via Target Circle, two 15% off coupons, a year of hassle-free returns, a free welcome kit and more!

This article was sponsored by Target. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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