The recent warm weather makes me realize how rapidly summer is approaching. It’s time to dust off those BBQ’s and open the pools.
Millions of people enjoy swimming in pools each summer in the United States. Unfortunately, on average two hundred people die each year in swimming pool related accidents.
Personally, I have represented the family of a young child that drowned in a neighbor’s swimming pool. The devastation that this child’s family felt is unimaginable. Adding to the family’s grief was the fact that their son’s death was completely avoidable. There are simple solutions to keep children safe while enjoying swimming pools. Here are five safety measures that every pool owner should consider:
– Make sure that your pool is completely enclosed with a fence, even if your town does not require it. While most townships call for a person’s property to be fenced when there is a pool in the yard, they don’t all require an additional fence around the pool. Fencing the pool area provides an extra layer of security and safety. Make sure there are no gaps in the fencing, and the gates to the pool should be self-closing and lock.
– While swimming, make sure you keep everyone in your pool under active supervision. Did you know that it is common for drowning deaths to occur while parents are actually with their children at the pool. It is not enough to be there. Failure to keep a watchful eye on your children while they are swimming can have disastrous consequences. Bear in mind that it may only take a few seconds for a drowning death to occur. This is especially true at parties or summer BBQ’s where there can be many distractions. Always keep your eyes on your pool.
– Make sure everyone in your family, including caregivers, knows how to swim. It’s never too early to teach your children how to swim and to understand the dangers of water. The sooner your child learns to swim, the safer he or she will be around water.
– Have appropriate safety equipment at your pool, including flotation devices. A course in CPR is a good idea for parents. In addition, make sure that your pool water is clear and clean while open, and properly covered in winter. Murky water can be difficult to navigate should someone accidentally fall into a dirty pool.
– Explain the dangers of the swimming pool to your children. Make it clear that they are not allowed into the pool area without supervision. Establish strict rules for the use of the pool, such as no running near the pool and no diving in shallow areas.
You may read this and think that all of the above tips are obvious. The sheer number of drowning incidents that occur in the home each year would suggest that it couldn’t hurt to think a little more about pool safety. Wishing all a happy and safe summer!