On a hot California day, sometimes there’s nothing better than relaxing by the pool. But as wonderful as the sparking water can be, it can also be incredibly dangerous. For example, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report that about 10 Americans die every day from drowning. And consider these facts reported by the National Safety Council:
- Drowning is the leading cause of death for children under 5, and the second leading cause of death for children under 15 years old
- More than 80% of accidental drownings occur in residential pools or spas
- According to the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission, a child can drown in the time it takes to answer a phone call
- A swimming pool is 14 times more likely than a car to be involved in the death of a child under 4
- The vast majority of preschoolers who drown are with their parents when they drown, and are out of sight for five minutes or less
With all of this information, that gorgeous pool can suddenly seem terrifying. That’s why it’s important to understand the leading causes of swimming pool accidents, and how to prevent them.
What factors contribute to accidents in pools?
According to the CDC, there are a handful of risk factors that are common to many pool accidents, including:
- Not knowing how to swim
- Lack of fencing or barriers
- Failure to properly supervise swimmers
- Alcohol use
How can these risk factors be managed?
If you own or plan to use a pool, knowing about these risk factors can help you prevent a tragedy. For example, research reported by the CDC indicates that participation in formal swimming lessons can reduce the risk of drowning for small children. When supervising children in the pool, the CDC recommends “touch supervision,” meaning you are close enough to reach the child at all times. And since alcohol is involved in as many as 70% of water recreation deaths, abstaining from drinking (or at the very least drinking responsibly) is always a good idea around the pool.
Pool owners should take additional steps to ensure safety. For example, proper fencing has been shown to reduce a child’s risk of drowning by as much as 83%. Additionally everyone, but pool owners especially, should become certified in CPR and make sure to keep their certification current. It is also important to maintain the pool properly; this includes ensuring the water is treated safely, maintaining the grates and other safety barriers between the pool and pool equipment, and keeping the pool deck free of clutter and obstructions.
Any true Californian has a special place in his or her heart for a relaxing day by the pool, and with a little common sense there’s no reason not to be able to enjoy one. If you own a pool and would like to speak with us about limiting potential accidents in your pool, or if you’ve already had an accident and need to know what to do next, please contact J&Y Law today for a free consultation.