As a father, I am now even more acutely aware when I go to homes and commercial properties to maintenance and repair pools and notice that safety is the last thing on the minds of the property owner. It pains me to think that so many people do not realize the true dangers lurking in their backyard or on their properties.
Just recently, two 1-year old twins drowned in a backyard pool in California. There was no security fencing or any other type of security measures that were in place to serve as a protective barrier. This is a sad and very unnecessary event that did not have to happen. Whether this was a rental property or they owned it, there could have been more done that did not require spending a lot of money.
However, this is just one example of many, according to the statistics:
- The CDC found that children, ages 1-4, have the highest drowning rates.
- The CDC also reported that an average of ten people per day die from an unintentional drowning.
- From 2008 to 2010, 5,100 children under the age of 15 were treated in emergency rooms for accidents that involved swimming pools and spas.
- The 2010 Pool and Spa Submersion: Estimated Injuries and Reported Fatalities Report from the CPSC shows that drowning deaths for children under the age of 15 averaged 385 annually between 2005 and 2007.
Keeping a Pool Safe
If it’s an above ground or in-ground swimming pool and spa, here are some tips to keep it – and your family or residents – safe, including these tips offered by PoolSafely.gov:
- Drain Entrapments: A drain entrapment occurs when a body is held against a pool or spa drain by the force of the pool’s suction or when an article of clothing, jewelry, hair, or a limb gets caught in a faulty drain. The flat drain grates and single main drain systems pose the greatest risk. The Virginia Graeme Baker Pool & Spa Safety Act (P&SS Act) takes its name from Virginia Graeme Baker, a young girl who drowned after she was trapped under water by the powerful suction from a hot tub drain and whose mother than advocated tirelessly for legislation to get passed. Now, commercial pools have been charged with the responsibility of changing their main drain covers to suit the new standards. Residential homes do not yet fall under this compliance, but it is a good idea to consult with a pool professional on changing out older main drain covers that do not suit the new safety standards.
- Fencing, Gates, and Self-Closing Devices: Install a four-foot or taller fence around the perimeter of the swimming pool and spa. Also, be sure to use self-closing and self-latching gates. These should also be in place at all public pools and community pools.
- Alarms: Many alarm systems are now available that can be placed on windows and doors as well as around the pool perimeter and as surface wave and underwater alarms. However, do not rely on these as a fool-proof way of preventing drowning.
- Life-Saving Equipment: Keep life rings and reaching pools on hand around the swimming pool, such as mounted on a fence or equipment wall.
- Swimming Lessons: Make sure everyone knows how to swim by getting them professional lessons. Include teaching sessions on water safety for your children.
- Lifeguards: Hire a lifeguard from a local community or parks and recreation pool when you plan to have a pool party. This provides an extra layer of convenience in case parents and other adults get distracted.
Lastly, be alert! You may think you’ll only be inside for a minute or you just turn your head, and it happens that quickly. Be sure to visit PoolSafely.gov for more information as the website is packed with excellent tips and information on keeping your family, tenants, and guests safe.Tags: pool and spa safety, pool drownings, pool fencing, swimming pool safety