The summer weather often brings with it impromptu get-togethers and backyard fun. If you have a pool, or are thinking of getting one, it is especially important that you take precautions to enable you and your guests to have an enjoyable and pool-related injury free time. The CDC or Center for Diesese Control reported that from 2005-2009, on average 10 people per day with 1 in 5 being children 14 years old and under, died from accidental drowning. The CDC goes on to state that for “every child who dies from drowning, another five receive emergeny department care for nonfatal submersion injuries.”
The highest risk groups for unintended drowning are males (at nearly 80%) and children ages 1 to 4 having the highest drowning rate. Contributing factors are: lack of swimming ability, lack of fence or other barrier to prevent access without supervision, failure to wear floatation or safety devices such as a life jacket, and lack of close supervision, for example not being buried in a book or electronic device.
With pools and swimming being such a large and fun part of summer, here are 5 tips to keep you, your family and your friends free from pool-related injuries:
- Take swimming lessons – YMCAs, swim school and other facilities offer lessons for all ages
- Learn CPR – should a drowning injury occurs, the quicker CPR is performed the better the chance for recovery
- Grab a Buddy – when swimming at home make sure there is a buddy to help keep an eye out, this applies even when swimming in public where a lifeguard may be present. Remember the lifeguard has several people to watch out for, you and your buddy only have each other
- Create a Barrier – a four-sided fence or gate that is self-locking can help prevent unintentional drowning or injury from someone wondering into the pool or pool area. The Consumer Products Safety Commission or CPSC has put together guidelines for Residential Barriers for Pools that shows in detail some options for creating a barrier to help prevent unintentional drowning, especially with children
- Keep it Neat – when not in use, pool toys and floats should be stored to reduce the temptation of a child wondering into a pool unsupervised, risking injury
If you are adding a pool to your home, make sure your contractor is familiar and complies with the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act, which went into law in December 2007 and became effective in December 2008. This Act, also known as the Pool & Spa Safety Act, addresses dangers associated with pool and spa intake drains. Serious pool-related injuries, such as disembowelment, brain-injury due to extended submersion or sometimes even death can occur. The full-text of this act can read and downloaded at Pool Safely, Consumer Products Safety Commission website: http://www.poolsafely.gov/pool-spa-safety-act/.
Another consideration when adding a pool to your home is Premises Liability. In other words, who is liable, or at fault, should an injury result from a slip and fall accident, a dog bit, exposure to toxic/hazardous substances (such as mold), or drowning. As the property owner, you don’t want anyone to be injured nor be able to prove your property is unsafe.
If you’ve followed all the tips, guidelines and rules but still find yourself suffering from pool-related injuries, Contact Us Online or Call Us at (312) 782-4600 for a free initial consultation.