Drowning is the second-leading cause of unintentional injury-related deaths for children ages 1 to 14 in the United States. For every one child who drowns, another four children receive medical treatment in emergency departments for submersion-related injuries. Most alarming is many of these deaths and injuries occur when children are under the supervision of an adult!
Pool Safety Starts Out Of The Water
Diving into pools also presents a great opportunity for serious injuries, such as paralysis. About 16,000 young people under the age of 16 are hospitalized because of diving injuries each year, and one in five of them will suffer a severe spinal cord injury. Residential swimming pool accounts for a significant number of these diving injuries.
According to the American Institutes for Research, 30.8% of all aquatic-related accidents occur in pools rather than natural bodies of water. Most of the diving injuries occur not from diving boards, but from dives into shallow water.
Make Sure You Have Proper Drain Covers
Another danger associated with pools is the risk of entrapment or evisceration in pool drains, i.e. child’s hair gets caught in a drain at the bottom of a spa or pool, etc. These risks lead to the passage of the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act in 2007, which mandates certain types of pool drain covers to eliminate or reduce the risk of entrapment.
Guidelines For Safety
Here are some safety guidelines to remain safe during pool activity:
- Get rid of diving boards and don’t dive in shallow water
- Avoid drinking alcohol while swimming or supervising children
- Make sure all doors leading from the home to the pool have alerts or alarms that sound when the door is opened
- Have a proper pool fence of at least four feet, that can be locked and secured
- Add an alarm to the pool so it will sound when someone enters the water
- Install a motorized pool cover that will support the weight of a person who may step on it
For more information on how you can make your pool a safer place for the entire family visit the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s Pool Safely website.