A pool can be a great source of enjoyment and fun, especially in the summer months when the heat drives us to find ways to cool down. However, a pool can also be a dangerous and even deadly environment if the proper safety precautions are not taken. Whether you own a pool, have a community pool near by, or have a friend or family member with a pool, you are responsible for understanding proper swimming pool safety.
Many injuries and deaths happen in or around pools each year. According to the American Red Cross, approximately 4,000 deaths occur each year. In 2005 this averaged out to about 10 deaths a day from unintentional drownings. Surprisingly, these statistics are not only for young children. These numbers are gathered from all age groups. Therefore, as responsible human beings we mustn’t ignore these alarming numbers, and we need to educate ourselves on how to practice proper pool safety.
One of the best ways to promote swimming pool safety is to have child proof fences installed around the pool and spa areas. These fences are designed so that only people of a certain height and age can operate the fence doors. In some states these fences are now required by law if there are children in the household under a certain age. If you do not own a pool, then make sure your community pool fence is up to code and in proper condition to help keep your family and community safe.
Locks on Exit Doors
Certain states and counties require doors to have deadbolts and height -lock requirements for doors leading to the outside/backyard pool area. If your state has these laws in place then you are aware of the requirements and if not then you could look up state laws (like Arizona) and apply these requirements to your own home.
Slip Resistant Decking
Not all pool accidents happen within the water, many injuries occurs because the walkways surrounding the pool become dangerously slippery when wet. These surfaces can cause serious injuries and even end in sever head trauma or death. So make sure your pool is surrounded by non- slip materials such as cool decking, pebble-tec, etched concrete or rubber material designed to prevent slipping.
Virginia Graeme Baker (VGB) Certified Drains
Under the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act, all commercial drains and drain covers must be VGB certified. It is recommended that private and residential pools follow this same law. The act gets its name from a 7 year old girl who was held underwater by the suction of a drain at the bottom of a hot tub. She was an experienced swimmer, being able to swim unassisted at age three, and was on her local swim and dive team. The faulty drain cover had suction so strong she could not break free with her mother trying to pull her off. VGB certified drain covers help eliminate this kind of disaster. They are designed in such a way that it is much easier to break free if suction occurs. If you currently do not have a VGB certified cover, simply ask your local pool specialist to replace your drain cover with a cover that is VGB certified.
Proper Supervision and CPR Training
Make sure all pool time is properly supervised. It is much safer to be within an arm’s reach of a child, than it is to have the child swim in floaties and be unsupervised periodically. When large groups of people are in and around the pool, it is especially important to have several people dedicated to watching young children at all times. It only takes a few seconds for a drowning to occur. Another way to be prepared with proper supervision is become CPR trained. Most hospitals provide free CPR training to the community. If you have the ability, become CPR certified so that you will know what to do in case of an emergency. Also, it is helpful to have easily accessible floatation rescue devices on hand at all times.
Alcohol and Swimming
Many times a pool can be a great source of fun, especially with large groups of people. Often times these events include alcohol and loud music. The key to swimming pool safety when alcohol is involved is to maintain a safe alcohol level so that inebriation does not occur, vastly altering one’s ability to think clearly and act responsibly and safely. Loud music can add to a chaotic environment, making it hard to hear if someone is in distress. When throwing a pool party, please drink responsibly and with a great respect for safety.
Justin Klatt is the owner of Integrity Pool Service and Repair, a Ventura Pool Service [http://venturapoolservice.com] that serves Ventura County including Ventura, Thousand Oaks, Ojai, Camarillo and Oxnard. His main goal in this industry is to do his part in helping pools be safe, healthy and clean. Pool safety is key, especially when kids are present. Please take a look at the “Safety” page on His website. How often a pool needs to be serviced to keep it clean depends on many factors such as weather and the environment surrounding the pool; trees, amount of dust in the air, sunlight, temperature, and precipitation, among others. Justin recommends servicing your pool every week to keep it healthy and sparkling clean.