Pools And Child Safety: Be Careful
As the summer weather turns warmer, many of us will look to pools for fun and recreation. Whether community pools or pools that are in or attached to our home, pools can be fun-but we often don’t think about common sense pool safety.
Statistics on Pool Injuries Aren’t Very Good
According to the Pool Safety Foundation, more than 2,000 kids under the age of 5 are treated for pool-related injuries every year. The Centers for Disease Control reports that it is younger kids that tend to suffer the most; of all nonfatal injuries related to swimming, kids aged 3 and younger represented over 60% of those injured.
Older kids are victims also, but sadly, they are often the cause of some of their injuries, as the CDC estimated that about 20% of pool use injuries in those over the age of 15, had some relationship to alcohol usage.
The National Safety Council noted that boys are more likely to drown than women are, and that in kids aged 1-4, drowning is actually the leading cause of unintentional injury or death. Sadly, 5-10% of nonfatal injuries result in disability.
Why So Many Injuries?
There are a lot of reasons why kids are being injured, and dying, in and around pools. One has to do with adult supervision. Many parents see the pool as a babysitter; they will often leave their kids to play, unattended in or around a pool.
Many adults aren’t even trained to recognize when a child (or any person) is drowning; unlike in the movies, drowning is often a very silent affair, without excess splashing, flailing or screaming.
The pools themselves may not have required safety features. For example, a young child’s limbs can be sucked into drains that are in most pools, trapping them under the water. Modern pools have guards that will prevent an arm or a leg from getting sucked in, but some may not have these safety features.
For very young children, safety nets or railing around a pool is a necessity. Many households that don’t have this basic feature, can have young children accidentally stumble into a pool and drown.
The area around a pool should be kept free of debris and clutter; it is easy for a child (or an adult) to fall into the pool.
Some pools, but not all, are equipped with alarms that will sound when someone of a certain weight falls into the water.
Pools are associated with pool parties, which can have alcohol or drug usage. This can prevent even a strong swimmer from being able to rescue him or herself.
Remember that even at a public pool, precautions should be taken-no state law mandates that lifeguards have to always attend to a pool. The law requires that a sign be posted, if no lifeguard is on duty.