Millions of us enjoy the summer months every year by swimming in our home pools and relaxing in hot tubs. Tragically, many drownings occur, with young children being particularly vulnerable.
Pools pose a risk of drowning, which may be significant for swimmers who are inexperienced, suffer from seizures, or are susceptible to a heart or respiratory condition. Lifeguards are employed at most public pools to execute water rescues and administer first aid as needed in order to reduce this risk. For private and home pools, it is the responsibility of the adults to ensure children and others are safe when swimming.
Diving in shallow areas of a pool may also lead to significant head and neck injuries; diving, especially head-first diving, should be done in the deepest point of the pool.
Pools also present a significant risk of infant and toddler death due to drowning. Many products exist, such as removable baby fences, floating alarms and window/door alarms to reduce the risk of drowning for infants. Some pools are equipped with computer-aided drowning prevention or other forms of electronic safety and security systems.
YouTube source: Home Pool Essentials. National Swimming Pool Foundation
The American Red Cross and National Swimming Pool Foundation USA have partnered to create an online Home Pool Essentials course that describes steps home pool owners can take to prevent tragedy and keep a well-maintained pool or hot tub. This 2-hour maintenance and safety course is ideal for:
- Home Pool or Hot Tub Owners;
- Health Advocates;
- Child Service Organisations; and
- Daycare Workers.
Preview the course here: www.nspf.vls01.com/NSPFARC_HomePoolDemo/preview.html
Above: Girl with styrooam swimming board. Source: Wikimedia Commons.
A guide to Pool Safety
Overberg Pool Clinic encourages owners of swimming pools to make pool safety their priority by following these guidelines:
- Secure your pool with appropriate barriers. Completely surround your pool with a fence or barrier with a self-closing, self-latching gate. Place a safety cover on the pool or hot tub when not in use, and remove any ladders or steps used for access. Consider installing a pool alarm that goes off if anyone enters the pool.
- Keep children under active supervision at all times. Stay in arm’s reach of young children. Designate a responsible person to watch the water when children are in the pool - never allow a child to swim alone. Have young or inexperienced swimmers wear a good quality life jacket or water wings.
- Ensure everyone in the home knows how to swim well. Enroll them in age-appropriate water orientation and learn-to-swim courses available in your area.
- Keep your pool or hot tub water clean and clear. Maintain proper chemical levels, circulation and filtration. Regularly test and adjust the chemical levels to minimise the risk of earaches, rashes or more serious diseases.
- Establish and enforce rules and safe behaviors such “no diving,” “stay away from drain covers,” “swim with a buddy” and “walk please.”
- Ensure everyone in the home knows how to respond to emergencies by having appropriate safety equipment and even consider taking a water safety, first aid and/or CPR courses.