5 Water Safety Tips Every Asthma Family Should Follow

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Asthma Attack
Asthma Attack.

While for many of us summertime means vacation, travel, time at the ball park and many more time outdoor activities, the warm weather often means an increase to emergency rooms for pool and water related injuries. These 5 tips can increase water safety for you and your family this summer:

1. Children Should Not Be In Or Around Water Unsupervised. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, 300 children younger than age 5 die in drowning accidents each year.

While you might assume these children were not supervised, this was not the case in most instances. The children were missing less than 5 minutes, supervised by 2 adults, and not expected to be around a pool in most cases.

If you cannot locate your child and there is a pool nearby, LOOK IN THE POOL FIRST.

Do not permit another child to supervise your child at the pool and never leave a child unsupervised near a pool. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends “touch supervision”— the responsible supervisor is always an arms length away from an infant or toddler that is around water.

If you have a pool in or near your home, instruct babysitters and other adults (e.g. Grandparents or friends who may be watching your child) that pools are a potential hazard to your child and the vigilance needed to protect them.

2. Enclose Your Pool. When visualizing pool safety in your home think of a coocoon strategy or layers of protection for your child.

Completely fencing in your pool keeps your young curious child from ending up poolside without a watchful adult nearby.
A fence is not effective if your young child can easily open and let themselves in. Self-closing and self-latching gates keep curious little ones away from the pool area– make sure latches are high enough that your toddler cannot just let themselves in.

Keep tables, chairs and anything else your child could elevate on away from the fence. This will prevent your ‘curious George’ from scaling into the pool area unattended.
Keep doors, windows and other exits to the pool area secured. If these exits are easily opened by young children, consider altering the locks and consider placing alarms on these exits so you will be notified if they are opened.

For above ground pools, remove access ladders or steps when the pool is not in use.

Utilize a pool safety cover that holds the weight of 2 adults. This allows for rescue should a child wander or fall onto the pool area unexpectedly.

3. Swimming Lessons. Anyone spending time on or near water needs to know how to swim. While not a substitute for supervision, strong swimmers are less likely to drown. Research published in the Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine showed formal swimming lessons decreased risk of drowning in 1–4 year olds.

4. Learn CPR. Cardiopulmonary resuscitation or CPR is an essential safety skill for parents, babysitters and anyone else that is caring for your child.

Basic life support skills in a drowning injury can be the difference between a good outcome and more serious morbidity, injury, and even death.

5. Life Vests. If your water time includes time on boats, piers, or lakes, all children need to wear life vests. Children do not pay attention walking down a pier an may just step off the end (I did this when I was little) or reach out of a boat to go after a shiny object in the water an just fall in (I also did this both as a child and an adult). In these instances when the water is not always crystal clear, a life vest could be the difference between a scared wet child and a more serious visit to the emergency department.

6. Have Your Rescue Inhaler Poolside Or On The Water. While swimming is one of the better sports for asthmatics, all sorts of asthma triggers end up poolside or on a boat. Make sure your rescue inhaler is close at hand and not in the car or at the dock when you develop symptoms of an asthma attack. Additionally, there are some other triggers I have seen in my practice somewhat unique to summer time. For example, I have had well controlled asthmatics that suffered acute water submersion injuries (e.g. fell water skiing in a lake or swallowed a bunch of water after sliding down a slide) and the inhalation of water, fear, coughing seemed to trigger asthma symptoms.

What Is Your Biggest Asthma Problem?

We want to help you get control of your asthma. I want to hear about your biggest asthma problem so that we can try to help you develop a solution or better understand how to help.
 You are probably not the only one with the problem. Take a few minutes describing your problem so we can develop a solution together.


  1. U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. Drowning Prevention Toolkit . Accessed on May 24, 2015.
  2. U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. Pool Safely. Accessed on May 24, 2015.
  3. U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. Tips For Safety In and Around Water. Accessed on May 24, 2015.

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