It’s summer, it’s hot and everyone is looking for a way to cool off and have some summer fun…and that means enjoying water activities! We are so fortunate that we live in an area where both water and water activities abound. But we all need to exercise good judgment and strive to keep our children, friends, and families safe from summer accidents.
As part of our Summer Safety Series, this week we’ll focus on pools as swimming is one of the most popular summer activity at any age. Know the hazards and make a point to prevent them. The statistics for pool-related accidents and emergencies are staggering. Statistics state that there was an average of 5,100 pool or spa-related injuries in 2010 through 2012 involving children under the age of 15.
Pool Safety Tips
What should be great fun can turn deadly in a moment. In the time it takes to answer a telephone, tragedy can strike. It’s that fast! Here are some tips to help keep your loved ones safe from accidents in pools this summer:
- Stay close by and remain alert when children are in a pool
- It’s always a good idea to stay within an arm’s length or two from children in the pool, especially if they don’t know how to swim
- Learn how to swim if you don’t know how to and teach your children how to swim at an early age
- Don’t leave children unattended in the pool even if they know how to swim
- Teach your children basic water safety tips
- Share your water safety and accident tips with family, friend, and neighbors
- Have a cordless phone within reach
- Keep children away from pool drains. Even if the pool drain covers are up to standard, keep children at a good distance from them
- Know basic CPR and understand the basics of life-saving techniques
In addition to knowing what to do when people are in the pool or pool area, it’s imperative that you know what equipment and safety measures to take so that accidents don’t occur when you aren’t home. For instance:
- Install a four-foot (or taller) fence around the pool with self-closing and self-latching gates
- If your pool is accessible directly from your home (i.e. a pool in an enclosed patio, etc.), install alarms and verify you are up to code per the 2013 Florida Statues – Chapter 515 Residential Swimming Pool Safety Act
- Make sure your drain covers are up to safety standards
- Have life-rings and other life-saving equipment handy and accessible
The question often arises about why the style of drain covers is so important. Drains are installed for one reason only – to drain water. And that means suction is involved which can make drains very dangerous. For example, if a child is near a drain without the appropriate cover, a body part can be “sucked” against the drain, holding the person down and ending in a tragic drowning. Long hair can very easily be dangerous because it can get caught in a drain cover that isn’t up to standards. The same goes for necklaces or loose fitting bathing suits. Bottom line is that drains must have the proper covers. Make sure your pool has a state-of-the-art drain cover. And, don’t allow your children into anyone else’s pool before checking their drain covers.
These same safety tips apply to community pools also. Do a visual check to make sure there are drain covers in place and that there is life-saving equipment close by. Also, most community pools should have a lifeguard on duty. Remember though, it’s your responsibility to ensure the safety of you and your family and that you should stay as alert as you are at home when you are at a community pool.
Follow these few simple summer safety steps and have a wonderful season filled with poolside fun! For more information about pool safety, go to https://www.poolsafely.gov.