Poolside and other swimming related accidents are the second leading cause of death of children under 14 years of age. From drowning
to accidents involving poolside apparatuses such as diving boards
or maintenance equipment, the pool can be a dangerous place.
Each year over 1,000 children (about 250 under the age of 5) die in swimming related accidents and over 5,000 others are hospitalized. Additionally, spas and whirlpools
kill over 200 children annually. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), in 2002 an estimated 1,600 children were treated in hospital emergency rooms for submersion injuries. Many of these deaths and injuries occurred in residential pools.
Adults are not immune from aquatic accidents. Many adults suffer severe injuries when they combine alcohol
and swimming. Furthermore, severe spinal cord injuries
may result from diving into water that is too shallow. A pool owner may be negligent
if he or she fails to post adequate warnings regarding water depth.
CPSC recommends using layers of protection. This includes, constant supervision of young children; placing barriers such as a fence with a self-closing, self-latching gate around your pool to prevent access; and being prepared in case of an emergency.
Close supervision of young children is vital for families with a home pool
and not just when outside using the pool. A common scenario is that young children leave the house without a parent or caregiver realizing it. Children are drawn to water, not knowing the terrible danger pools can pose. Also, just because children know how to swim, doesn't mean they are safe. All children should be supervised every second while in and around the pool.
The commission offers these additional tips to prevent drowning:
- Fences and walls should be at least 4 feet high and installed completely around the pool. Fence gates should be self-closing and self-latching. The latch should be out of a small child's reach. Keep furniture that could be used for climbing into the pool area away from fences.
- If your house forms one side of the barrier to the pool, then doors leading from the house to the pool should be protected with alarms that produce a sound when a door is unexpectedly opened.
- A power safety cover
a motor-powered barrier that can be placed over the water area -- can be used when the pool is not in use. Keep rescue equipment by the pool and be sure a phone is poolside with emergency numbers posted. Knowing cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) can be a lifesaver.
Don't leave pool toys and floats in the pool or pool area that may attract young children to the water.
For above-ground pools, steps and ladders to the pool should be secured and locked, or removed when the pool is not in use.
If a child is missing, always look in the pool first. Seconds count in preventing death or disability.
Pool alarms can be used as an added precaution. Look for alarms that meet the requirements of the ASTM standard. The commission advises that consumers use remote alarm receivers so the alarm can be heard inside the house or in other places away from the pool area.
To prevent body entrapment and hair entrapment/entanglement, have a qualified pool professional inspect the drain suction fittings and covers on your pool and spa to be sure that they are the proper size, properly attached, and meet current safety standards. If your pool or spa has a single drain outlet, consider installing a safety vacuum release system that breaks the vacuum to avoid potential entrapment conditions.
If you are a victim of a poolside or other aquatic accident, it may be important to contact an attorney who can help you protect your legal rights. Please keep in mind that there may be time limits within which you must commence suit.
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- Broken Bones: Overview
- Bruises: Overview
- Cryptosporidiosis: Overview
- Dislocation: Overview
- Drowning: Overview
- Giardiasis: Overview
- Head & Brain Injury
- Mouth & Dental Disorders: Overview
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD): Overview
- Scars: Overview
- Shigellosis: Overview
- Spinal Cord Injury
- Wounds: Overview
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