When the weather is hot, swimming pools provide a fantastic way for the family to cool off and relax, exercise or play. The very pools that are responsible for summer fun, however, are also responsible for thousands of injuries and hundreds of deaths annually. According to Pool Safely, an average of 5,600 children are treated in emergency rooms for pool-related incidents each year, and another 367 children under the age of fifteen fatally drown. Moreover, drowning is the leading cause of unintentional death among children ages one to four years and the second leading cause of death in children ages five to fourteen years old. It is important to note, however, that pool-related injuries are preventable. The attorneys at Decof, Barry, Mega & Quinn, P.C. offer the following 5 tips to ensure that you and your family remain safe while enjoying the pool this summer:
- Teach children how to swim. Many children are eager to jump in the water; however, some children may vigorously resist the water. For those children who resist the water, “trust” may be an important factor in teaching a nervous child how to swim. Involvement from someone who a child knows and trusts will make that child more likely to embrace the water. Look to your local YMCA, USA Swimming chapter or Parks and Recreation Department to sign up for swimming lessons. And, you are never too old to learn! Not only can swimming be fun, but it is a lifesaving skill.
- “Buddy? Buddy!” Use the “buddy” system. An adult should be designated as the official “water watcher,” supervising all children who are in or near the water. Young, inexperienced swimmers should have an adult within an arm’s reach at all times when in the water. In addition, use of life jackets and other flotation devices may prove wise for such inexperienced swimmers. Moreover, in the event that an unexpected emergency arises, even the most skilled and experienced swimmers should have a “water watcher” nearby.
- No running, no pushing. Running and/or pushing around the pool is prohibited because the surface area surrounding the pool may be slippery enough to cause slip and falls. Some slip and falls cause injuries that, if you fall into the water, make it difficult or impossible to get out of the water on your own.
- Keep children away from drains. Children’s hair, limbs, jewelry or bathing suits may become stuck in a pool’s drain or suction opening, potentially causing injury. For this reason, advise children to stay away from such drains and openings. More importantly, know where the emergency vacuum shutoff is located and how to use it before allowing children to enter the pool.
- Learn CPR. Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) has been shown to improve outcomes in drowning victims. Often times, bystanders are the first to aid a drowning victim because waiting for emergency personnel may take some time. By starting CPR immediately, you may be able to reduce the chance of brain damage in someone who has drowned. Click here to find a CPR class near you.
The lawyers at Decof, Barry, Mega & Quinn encourage all to safely enjoy their time at the pool.
Photo by Greg Salter / CC BY