With Florida summer temperatures averaging in the low-90s, both parents and children yearn for pool time. In 2000, our state’s legislators tried to make pools safer for our children and medically frail elderly by passing a law that requires safety measures like fences with automatic locking gates. It is nearly 20 years later and children are still drowning or suffering irreversible brain damage from near-drowning (also called submersion) accidents. Completely avoiding pools is an almost unreasonable request for parents during the hot summer months, so let’s look at some ways you can mitigate the risks for your kids.
Four Top Safety Tips to Prevent Drowning
More children age four and younger die from drowning in Florida than in any other state in America. The Florida Department of Children and Families offers these four safety tips to prevent drownings.
There is no substitute for an adult being fully engaged in watching over children who are in or around a swimming pool. The adult should be a good swimmer and know CPR. At least one such adult should be on duty at all times when children are present.
Supervising adults should not be:
- Drinking alcohol
- Playing games
- Operating cell phones or other electronic devices
The watchers should always have an unobstructed view of the children and should remain within arms-length reach of young children and non-swimmers.
Make sure that a child cannot just walk up to the pool and fall in. There should be a sturdy fence all the way around the pool that the child cannot squeeze through, shimmy under, or climb over. The gates must automatically close and lock and be unreachable by a young child. Door and pool access alarms alert adults that a child has entered the pool or its enclosure. Safety covers can save lives, but standard canvas coverings are drowning hazards as they can trap a child underwater.
Learn how to swim. Every person in your household should take lessons and learn how to swim if you are a pool owner. Every parent should make sure their children know how to swim. Most communities offer free or low-cost swimming lessons.
Be Prepared for the Worst
Always keep rescue and emergency equipment at your pool. Do not rely on inflatable toys or “water wings” to prevent drownings. Learn CPR to save a life. Always have a phone poolside whenever people are in or near the water.
Pool Injuries Other Than Drowning
Armed with a little knowledge, you can prevent many other types of injuries that happen at pools:
- Fractures: create pool rules that restrict running and horse play
- Drain injuries: Keep everyone three feet away from the pool drains
- Head and spinal cord injuries: No diving
- Electrocution: Keep electronics and extension cords far from the pool
- Infection: Monitor pool chemicals and if anyone has had diarrhea within the past two week, keep them out of the pool
If you follow these safety tips, you can help prevent drownings. Sometimes injuries happen even when you have been careful, so if you have had a pool injury, call The Montero Law Center at 954-767-6500 to line up your free consultation.