Childhood Pool Drownings Have Increased, But You Can Flatten the Curve
Swimming pools are supposed to be places of serenity and family fun. Years ago, if you wanted to swim, you would have to visit a lake or ocean or maybe even join a local country club. Today, backyard swimming pools have become a common home amenity, particularly in Southern states where homeowners enjoy temperate weather for the majority of the year. Sadly, with increased pool use comes increased injury to children.
In early June of this year, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) released an advisory that childhood drownings have increased in residential settings. Drowning is the number one cause of death for children between the ages of 1 to 4 years old. It’s also the third-leading cause of unintentional injury-related death for kids between the ages of 5 and 19. It makes sense when you consider that people feel safest in their own surroundings at home. However, some of the hazards relate to actual product liability issues with pool equipment that can turn deadly.
How can adults make swimming pools safer?
It’s important to ensure that your swimming pool is safe for your children and anyone else who may wind up in your backyard sanctuary. The same goes for spas that young kids may view as an attractive new adventure to play with. Maintaining pool and spa equipment is just part of the equation. Here are a few tips to make your swimming pool safer:
- Fence in your pool. Whether you own an above-ground or in-ground pool, the most effective way to prevent drownings is to keep children out of the water unless you’re right there watching them. Installing a perimeter fence that is at least 5 feet high and structured to deter any little climbers will make it easier to keep small children on dry land until you are able to monitor them. Fence gates should open outward and be self-closing and self-locking. You can also add an alarm system to notify you when the gate is open.
- Keep the pool area free of slip hazards. Wet pool decks already pose a risk of slipping. Leaving pool toys, lounge chairs and tables, cleaning equipment and other items close to the pool area adds a tripping risk as well. Young children aren’t always stable on their feet and older children are more focused on playing than watching where they’re going. It takes a split second to lose your balance, hit your head and fall into the water.
- Use proper drain covers. Drain covers prevent larger objects from getting sucked into the pool drain at the bottom of the pool. The wrong cover or a broken cover may cause your child to become stuck under water due to the forceful pressure of the suction in a spa or pool drain. Covers should be rounded, contain all screws and have no cracks.
- Take a CPR training course. If the unthinkable actually happens and a child has to be pulled out of the water, knowing CPR can save his or her life or buy time until the paramedics arrive with more advanced life-saving techniques. Keeping a first-aid kit and rescue equipment in the pool area is a necessity as well.
What are the top swimming safety tips for children?
Adults and children share the responsibility to make pools safe. When parents and kids work together to each do their part, it can significantly minimize the injury and drowning hazards posed by pools.
- Teach kids to swim at a young age. If you own a pool or spa and you have children, you need to make sure they can successfully swim without assistance. New guidance advises parents to begin swim lessons for children at the age of one year to reduce the potential for drowning.
- Children should never swim alone. Always have an adult who knows how to swim supervise any children who are in the pool area. Taking your eyes off them for several seconds to take a phone call or other distraction can be the difference between life and death.
- Teach proper pool conduct. Having to follow rules is just part of growing up. You aren’t trying to make your child’s life miserable. You’re just trying to teach him or her right from wrong and how to safely maneuver through life when it truly matters such as following pool rules:
- Run on the pool deck
- Dive into shallow water
- Push anyone into the pool
- Swim without an adult present
- Dunk or hold anyone underwater
- Play breath holding games
- Always wear a life vest or other flotation device such as water wings
- Use a long object to pull a struggling friend from the pool instead of jumping in after them
- Jump into the pool feet first to avoid traumatic brain injuries
- Stay away from pool drains
Children should never be victims of residential pool drownings or injuries because a pool product failed or because of poor safety practices. If your child has been hurt or has died in a backyard pool, the product liability attorneys at Harris Lowry Manton LLP are here to help you find the peace you deserve through taking civil action. Schedule your free case evaluation with one of our compassionate but aggressive personal injury lawyers today by calling our Savannah office at 912-417-3774, our Atlanta office at 404-998-8847, or by reaching out to us through our contact page to tell us your story.
Jed Manton is committed to representing individuals and business that have been harmed by the actions of others. With a solid track record, Jed has helped numerous clients who have been seriously injured or who have lost a loved one obtain justice, while holding the wrongdoer accountable.
Read more about Jed D. Manton here.