The perfect summer afternoon can quickly turn to tragedy when water safety rules are not followed. Residential pools are responsible for 85 percent of the estimated 400 drowning fatalities among children each year and an additional 5,100 emergency visits, many of which cause permanent disabilities, notes a report by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. More than three-quarters of these accidents involve children who are younger than five years old.
PoolSafely.gov states that nearly all of these tragedies are preventable when homeowners are alert to drowning hazards. Constant adult supervision is the top factor in reducing accidents since an estimated 72 percent of incidents happen when a child gains access to the pool by themselves. “A child can drown in the time it takes to answer a telephone,” says PoolSafely.gov.
4EC recommends that you combine several of these water safety steps to keep your kiddos, pets and guests safe around your pool.
Know How to Respond to Aquatic Emergencies
Your entire family, including young children, should receive basic water safety training. Learning how to swim and staying away from pool drains are the top priorities. In addition to lifesaving equipment, such as rings and poles, you should keep a telephone nearby as well as scissors in case someone needs to be cut free from a mechanical device.
Set aside time once each month to review safety procedures. Practice dialing 911 during an emergency, tossing out water-rescue equipment and turning off the pool pump. CPR and first aid certification classes are available in Southeast Texas through the American Red Cross and American Heart Association.
Install Essential Pool Safety Equipment
Having the appropriate safety equipment is the key to preventing most accidents. The CPSC study found that only 11 percent of accidents were related to compromised barriers, which means the safety systems work when they are properly installed, used and maintained.
- Surround the pool with a fence that is at least 4 feet tall and does not have footholds or handholds. Vertical slat fences with spaces less than 4 inches apart are more effective than chain-link fencing. The barricade should be no more than four inches above the ground.
- The safest fence gate is self-closing and self-latching. Place the release latch at the top of the gate, about 3 inches down, on the side that faces the pool. The gate should swing away from the pool so that a young child pushing on the gate cannot get inside.
- Install audible safety alarms that notify you when the gate opens or the pool water is disturbed. Smartphone apps can also send you an alert when the pool gate is opened while a remote video monitoring service lets you keep an eye on the pool area when you are away from home.
- Outfit your pool with modern anti-entrapment drain covers and a Safety Vacuum Release System (SVRS) that automatically shuts off the pump when a blockage occurs.
- Secure the pool when it is not in use. Whether you choose a manual or motorized version, pool covers are highly effective at preventing children and pets from falling into the water. The cover should be strong enough to hold two adults and one child. Lock or remove the ladder on above ground pools.
Post Your Poolside Rules
Provide swimmers with a constant reminder of your poolside rules by posting a sign. Rules you can add to the list include:
- No running or pushing.
- Close the gate behind you.
- Remove jewelry.
- Secure long hair.
- Don’t swim in loose clothing.
- Stay away from drain covers.
- Don’t dive onto pool toys.
- Use lots of sunscreen.
- Laugh, play and relax!
Maintain Your Pool System
Submersion accidents are not the only danger. Pools that are not properly cleaned or have circulation problems can cause rashes, earaches and other serious diseases. It is critical that you keep the water clear, the chemicals balanced and the pool equipment updated. Regularly check the recalled pool products list and contact 4EC at (281) 471-7665 to schedule a safety inspection, equipment repair or pool cleaning service in Southeast Texas.