Summer vacation may be coming to a close, but as Labor Day weekend approaches, many people will be out taking advantage of the remaining days of the season, and one of the best sources of summertime fun is the swimming pool. Swimming can be an enjoyable, healthy pastime for families, but it is not without its dangers, particularly for young children. With this in mind, GWC Injury Lawyers would like to help you protect your family as Labor Day weekend approaches by sharing these swimming pool safety tips, courtesy of the Pool Safely campaign at the US Consumer Product Safety Commission.
TIP #1 – Never Leave a Child Unattended in or Near Water
It is essential to watch children whenever they are in or even near the water – and never, ever leave them unattended. To help with this goal, always designate an official Water Watcher, an adult whose only task is to supervise children in the water. Even when lifeguards are present, you should still select a Water Watcher because lifeguards may not be able to see every part of the pool all of the time. The Water Watcher must only focus on supervising the children, with no reading, texting, or playing games on the phone. However, you should keep a phone nearby at all times in case you need to call for help. And remember, if a child is missing, always check the pool first.
TIP #2 – Teach Children How to Swim
In addition to being enjoyable, swimming is a skill that can save lives. Before taking children out to the pool, enroll them in swimming lessons. There are many free or reduced-cost options available from your local Parks and Recreation departments, YMCAs, and USA Swimming chapters to help your children learn this essential element of swimming pool safety.
TIP #3 – Teach Children to Stay Away from Drains
You may barely think of pool drains or suction outlets, if you even think of them at all, but they present some of the most serious threats to young children’s swimming pool safety. Children’s hair, limbs, bathing suits, or jewelry may get stuck in drains or suction outlets. Do not let your children play or swim near drains or suction outlets, especially in spas and shallow pools, and never enter a pool or spa with a missing, loose, or broken drain cover. Additionally, when you are using a spa, always locate the emergency vacuum shutoff before entering the water.
TIP #4 – Ensure All Pools and Spas Have Compliant Drain Covers
The Virginia Graeme Baker Pool & Spa Safety Act – the law that created the Pool Safely campaign – was named in honor of a seven-year-old girl who tragically drowned after being trapped underwater by the powerful suction from a hot tub drain. Suction from pool or spa drains can even trap adults, so make sure that all backyard and public pools and spas you visit have drain grates or covers that meet necessary safety standards.
TIP #5 – Install Proper Barriers, Covers, and Alarms On and Around Your Pool and Spa
Proper fences, barriers, alarms, and covers are essential to spa and swimming pool safety. Make sure that a fence of at least four feet in height surrounds the pool or spa on all sides and is not be climbable by children. The water in the pool or spa should also only be accessible through a self-closing, self-latching gate. Teach your children never to try to climb over the fence or gate, install a door alarm from the house to the pool area, and keep pool and spa covers in working order.
TIP #6 – Know How to Perform CPR on Children and Adults
Even before medical professionals can arrive, bystanders are often the first to aid drowning victims. Learn CPR so you can help save a life! You can find CPR classes through many hospitals or community centers or by contacting the American Red Cross. And once you get CPR certified, please make sure you keep your certification current.
TIP #7 – Take the Pledge!
Before you head out to the pool or spa with your family, affirm your commitment to spa and swimming pool safety by taking the Pool Safely Pledge. This online call to action is a reminder to everybody to stay safer around the water.
Swimming Pool Safety Can Protect Your Family
We hope these swimming pool safety tips help you and your family as you enjoy the rest of the summer. For more lifesaving swimming pool and spa advice, visit PoolSafely.gov, the official website of the Pool Safely campaign. And don’t forget to Take the Pledge while you’re there!
Your friends at GWC Injury Lawyers wish you and yours a very happy – and healthy – Labor Day weekend.