Among various difficulties, the COVID-19 pandemic brought another issue to light–There has been an increase in child drownings at pools and spas in recent summers. Consumer Product Safety Commission speculates that with more time at home coupled with the inability to enroll children in swim lessons due to the pandemic, more children are falling victim to serious pool injuries and devastating fatalities. Children younger than 5 remain to be in the largest percentile of pool injury and fatality victims, with residential pools accounting for 83% of those total injuries.
Staying informed about pool safety is crucial to having a safe, fun summer. Without this knowledge, what should be an excellent way to beat the summer heat could turn into tragedy in a matter of seconds. It may seem obvious to some, but here are the top 10 pool safety tips that you need to know to ensure safe summer days by the pool.
1. Never leave a child unattended or near the water alone.
Careful supervision is the key to preventing serious pool accidents, injuries, and fatalities. If gathered with multiple adults, take 15-minute turns watching the children in and around the pool. When you're supervising swimming kids, make sure you're not distracted by other adults, your phone, children who aren't in the pool, or other tasks.
Sadly, drowning is often silent, so make sure your attention is always on your child and on the pool itself. When you're attentive and fully focused on the present moment, there is a much less likely chance of serious pool accidents occurring.
2. Walk, don't run.
Though kids are probably tired of hearing this from parents and lifeguards, walking instead of running is the safest and smartest way to stay safe near the water. With sunscreens and spilled drinks and pool water causing slippery surfaces, one misstep could be the difference between a fun pool day or a painful, life-threatening one. Falling near a pool can cause several serious injuries such as:
- Brain injuries
- Neck injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Skull and spinal fractures
- Broken bones
- Internal bleeding
- Disfigurement and scarring
3. Teach children to stay away from openings such as drains and opened pool covers.
All pools and spas should have covers and grates that adequately cover all pool drains, openings, and pipes. When left uncovered, a pool drain can cause serious suction that inexperienced, young swimmers cannot escape. Also, be mindful that pool and spa coverings are attached securely and properly to prevent children from falling in the pool and becoming trapped under the cover.
4. Install fences, covers, alarms, and barriers around the pool and spa at your house.
In most places it's the law, but as an extra layer of protection for pools, having fences and barriers around a covered pool are essential if you have a residential pool. Young children are curious and can easily wander away from adult supervision. Having child-proof barriers around the pool - or advanced technology like alarms or cameras - adds other measures of security.
5. Get out of the pool during inclement weather such as thunder and lightning storms and monsoons.
Especially during the late Arizona summer, the skies can turn dangerously dark very quickly. Lighting strikes at unpredictable moments and is drawn to open water and the various pieces of equipment surrounding the pool. Though it may be tempting to stay in the water during the rain or because you don't “see any lightning”, it's always best to get out of the pool during inclement weather and stay out at least 30 minutes after you see/hear the last of the storm passing.
6. Empty kiddie pools as soon as you are done with use.
Even just inches of water can be deadly for small children. It is best practice to dump out and flip over kiddie pools after you are done using them. Keeping kiddie pools flipped over and out of childrens' reach will help ensure that they don't fill with rainwater causing serious accidents.
7. Know how to perform CPR and first aid on adults, children, and infants.
CPR is essential if you're a bystander in a pool accident. Whether you're a parent, own a pool, or plan on being near the pool often, taking a CPR certification course could save someone's life in several instances, let alone the pool. Local schools, hospitals, pools, rec centers, and philanthropic organizations offer CPR training and certification courses.
8. Properly use pool safety equipment and pool toys.
Pool safety equipment such as life vests, ring buoys, rescue boards, life preservers, safety nets, and more should never be used as toys. When using pool toys, make sure you read all of the safety information, operate all toys according to the product instructions, and stay wary of toys that include small parts or choking hazards.
9. Learn how to swim and make sure your child knows how to swim. If available, enroll your child in swim lessons.
When adults and children have basic swimming knowledge and skills, it significantly lowers the chances of serious water accidents. The more comfortable you or your child is in the water, the less likely there will be any issues or injuries related to swimming. And before swimming, make sure you and your child know these 5 basic water survival skills:
- Step/jump into the water and rise back up
- Turn around in the water and orient yourself quickly
- Float and tread water
- Both breathe and move forward in the water
- Exit the water
10. Always follow the pool rules, and listen to the lifeguard.
If at a public pool, make sure children follow the posted rules and that they swim near a lifeguard and listen to his/her instructions. Regardless of using a pool at your house or a public pool, make sure you and your children know and adhere to the pool rules. Common sense is key, but rules are in place to maintain safety and could in turn save a life.
If you or someone you love has been injured in a swimming pool accident, you owe it to yourself to obtain legal representation from an experienced Tucson swimming pool accident attorney at our firm. The attorneys at AZ Injury Law are steadfast supporters of accident victims' rights and have handled many swimming pool accident cases and drowning claims for clients throughout Arizona.
We have more than 120 years combined experience practicing personal injury law and have won many million-dollar settlements and verdicts for our clients over the past four decades. Our award-winning attorneys are highly-regarded and well-known when it comes to handling swimming pool accident lawsuits and ensuring maximum compensation for clients. Each of our lawyers has also been included in the Arizona Super Lawyers® list and has received an AV® Rating by Martindale-Hubbell®.
Call us at (520) 790-5600 for a free consultation if you or a loved one has been impacted by a serious swimming pool injury.