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Even though summer is coming to a close, the importance of safety around the pool doesn’t stop with the warm weather. According to poolsafely.gov, drowning is the leading cause of unintentional death in children ages 1-4 and the CDC estimates that for every child who dies from drowning, another five receive emergency department care for nonfatal submersion injuries.
As a pool owner or goer, there are many things you can do to prevent this fun summer activity from turning into a tragic situation. That’s why we have compiled a list of some of the steps you can take to ensure your child’s safety around the pool.
While this may seem like a no brainer, supervision is key to ensuring that younger pool users stay safe. It’s estimated that a drowning person can only struggle on the surface for 20-60 seconds and over half of the children who drown in a given year are only 25 yards away from an adult or parent. Even if there is a life guard on duty in a public pool, the time it takes to notice and reach someone who is drowning may be too long to provide effective aid.
Not only is swimming fun and a great exercise, but it can literally save your life. And considering that 71% of the earth is covered in water, it’s a good idea to be comfortable around it. There are plenty of places where you can get your child started on swimming lessons early so they know how to handle themselves around water.
Especially if you have younger children, surrounding the pool or spa with a four foot protective barrier can prevent your child wandering into a dangerous situation before you have time to react. You may even want to consider installing a pool alarm that goes off anytime someone enters the pool.
Even if your child is comfortable in the water, having hair or clothing sucked into a drain can trap them underwater. The Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act, which provides new drain requirements for public pools and spas, was named after a child who died when the suction of a spa drain entrapped her under water. Even if everything is working properly, teach your children to stay away from drains when possible.
Although diving can be a fun activity, it can be dangerous if the water is not deep enough. 6,500 adolescents are brought to the hospital per year because of diving related injuries, with 80% of these occurring in shallow water of four feet or less. Serious spinal cord and permanent brain injuries can occur if not exercising proper safety when diving, so be sure to set rules such as entering the water feet first and no shallow end diving to prevent serious harm.
In the event that an accident does occur, knowing the basics of CPR can help save someone’s life or help keep them alive until help arrives. It is always best to plan for a worst case scenario, even if you don’t ever need to use your training.
Even though these are just a simple few reminders about pool safety, they can save someone’s life. If you were at a public pool and negligent behavior or safety violations, such as improper signs or broken safety features, led to the injury or harm of your child, you may want to consult an attorney who can ensure that you are fairly compensated. Nevertheless, enjoy your time at the pool, but be mindful of steps you can take to ensure the proper safety of everyone involved.