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Four Ways to Avoid Swimming Pool Accidents

Posted on in Personal Injury

Summertime is a time for water activities. Many homeowners look forward to a refreshing swim in their backyard pool on a hot summer day. However, swimming pools can be hazardous.

  • In 2013, 202 children ages 1 to 14 drowned in a pool or spa between Memorial Day and Labor Day. 143 of those children were under the age of 5.
  • The U.S. Center for Disease Control indicates that drowning is the second highest cause of death for children ages 1 to 4 following only congenital anomalies.
  • The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission indicates that approximately 300 children under the age of 5 drown each year and thousands are hospitalized. Many of those hospitalized end up with brain damage.
  • Drowning can occur in less than one minute, in less than 1 inch of water.Homeowners should consider the following four ways to avoid swimming pool accidents so tragedy doesn't occur in their own backyard.

Know Who is Responsible

If three adults are sitting by the pool watching two kids swim, make sure one of the adults has been clearly defined as the person responsible for watching the children. Often adults think someone else has their eye on the pool so it is OK if they are distracted for a minute but if all adults are distracted at the same time a tragedy can occur. By clearly defining who is responsible the likelihood of no one paying attention is significantly reduced. In addition, that adult should not have any other responsibilities. Watching the water should be their sole focus.

Realize Drowning is Silent

In the movies drowning is depicted as a loud and splashy event. The victim is hollering and flailing about before eventually going underwater and drowning. This is not how it actually happens though. Drowning can be very quick and silent. A child can go underwater, instinctively breath in and water gets into the lungs. Only seconds are needed. If you are the adult responsible for watching the water, keep in mind that you are not looking for a child flailing and yelling. Look for the child who goes underwater and doesn't come back up.

Practice Pool Safety

Many drownings occur when no one is supposed to be swimming in the pool. A child may be left unattended for a minute while an adult uses the bathroom and decide to go into the pool. Or a child sees a ball floating in the pool and just tries to reach over the edge to grab it so they can play with it outside of the pool but winds up falling in. It is important to practice pool safety at all times. If you have a fence around your pool keep the gate latched when no one is swimming. A fence can only prevent access if it is properly closed. Make sure any alarm system you have is activated. In addition, when you leave the pool after a swim make sure you remove all toys. Don't leave anything floating in the pool that may be welcoming to a child.

Preach Pool Safety

Have specific rules regarding pool use that are always followed. For example, no one ever swims alone. This rule should be followed by adults and children alike. Require kids to seek permission before going swimming. It is not acceptable to just holler in the house that they intend to go in the pool. They must receive a verbal response from an adult expressing it is OK before they get in.

Backyard pools should be fun and provide years of positive memories. Following these four safety tips will help ensure your family avoids a swimming pool tragedy. Enjoy a summer filled with safe swimming experiences!

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