Safety Around the Pool: Taking Steps That Could Save a Life
Wednesday, July 25, 2012
Safety Around the Pool: Taking Steps That Could Save a Life By: Melanie Foley
Executive Vice President, Liberty Mutual Insurance Company
Did you know that year nearly 300 children younger than five drown in swimming pools every year? Your greatest assurance for water safety is adopting and practicing as many safety measures as possible for your pool and the area around it. Even one can make a difference—and save a life.
For more information about pool safety, visit www.PoolSafely.gov.
- Practice supervision. Never take your eyes off children in the water—even for a minute. Always designate a “pool watcher.”
- Install barriers. In most states, swimming pools qualify as an “attractive nuisance,” which refers to a safety hazard that children find appealing while lacking the experience to know the dangers it may pose. Owners of swimming pools are therefore expected to take reasonable steps to restrict pool access to children or otherwise be held liable for their injuries. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) strongly recommends that all residential pools have a four-foot barrier, such as a fence with self-closing and self-latching gates. If your house is the fourth side of a barrier, secure doors with alarms that prevent children from wandering into the pool area.
- Avoid entrapments. Do not play or swim near drains or suction outlets. Suction from a pool’s drain can be so powerful it can trap an adult underwater. A pool with a broken, loose or missing drain cover should be closed immediately until it can be repaired by a licensed professional. Report drain entrapments by calling the CPSC hotline at 800-638-2772.
- Practice diving safety. Post “No Diving” signs clearly on all above-ground pools, which are not designed for diving. Never dive off the side of an in-ground pool, especially at the shallow end. Dive only off of a diving board that has been installed by a professional.
- Learn and practice life-saving skills. Teach your children how to swim. Learn CPR so you can help save a life in case of a water emergency. Practice your skills regularly and rehearse emergency drills to keep water safety top of mind.
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