Summer is here, bringing with it beautiful sunshine, warm weather and children with a lot of free time on their hands. Much of that time is likely to be spent swimming, whether at the beach or at one of our great local town pools, and so some reminders on safety tips are in order.
Whether you own a swimming pool, are buying a home with a pool, or may use a pool at a neighbor’s home, recreation center or while on vacation, this post shares valuable information and questions to provoke thought to help you be more aware and prompt action where needed.
IF YOU OWN A POOL
- Do you have a four-foot or taller fence around the pool and spa with self-closing and self-latching gates?
- Do you have and use a door alarm and are your windows secure for any areas that access the pool?
- Do the people living and visiting your home know how to swim?
- Do the people living in your home know how to perform CPR on children and adults and are they current on certification?
IF YOU ARE USING A POOL (EVEN IF ITS YOUR OWN)
- Is proper gating in place to discourage younger children from areas that are unsafe?
- Do the people you are with know how to swim?
- Are you or a trusted adult available to physically “watch” your children and respond quickly to an emergency?
75 percent of drowning accidents involve children younger than 5 years old and African American and Hispanic children are at greater risk, due to a lack of knowledge on how to swim and water safety, according to national studies. Reports also show that “residential locations dominated incidents involving victims younger than 5 years of age.” Children should NEVER be left unattended near a pool or spa.
As drowning can occur in as little as 20 seconds for children and 60 seconds for an adult, never swim alone or allow others to use your pool without adequate supervision. Drowning makes no sound, so pay attention to all swimmers to avoid accidents and respond quickly if something is not right. If someone is missing, check the pool before other areas.
- Is there a charged and working phone easily accessible?
- Is someone with you who is certified and can perform CPR on children and adults?
- Have the pool drains been replaced to comply with the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool & Spa Safety Act? Ask the pool servicer if you cannot tell. Recently a lot of news have been published on pool drains, the suction part of the pool which coordinates suction on the pump and filter to keep the water clean. If a newer (last 5 years) drain is installed or the drain has a substantial cover, you shouldn’t have to worry, but older drains with too much suction can pose a serious drowning risk as bathing suits, hair and even small children can be pulled down and drown. Don’t be afraid to ask about this – too many accidents have already happened, and the National Swimming Pool Foundation, reported earlier this year that almost 80 percent of public pools are not in compliance!
- Are safety rules posted in the pool area? Can you visibly see life rings and poles and is there a lifeguard on duty during the times you and/or your children will swim?
- When was the last pool safety inspection and the last cleaning? Does the water look cloudy or smell too strong? Does the pool appear to be filtering?
You may feel that some of questions are not necessary, however pool safety is an international concern. Do your part to be aware by checking out PoolSafely.gov to find out how you can be more proactive in your pool safety and spread the knowledge you have. You could save a life!