Pools offer a lot of fun in warm weather. They’re a great way to cool off, exercise, and make the most of the summer season. While many people may think they’re being safe around pools, they may not be taking all the possible precautions, especially when children are involved. A parent or guardian may be vigilant while they’re with their child in the pool, but there are many other measures they can take to increase pool safety when it’s in use and when the pool is closed. Pools still pose dangers to children in the colder months and injuries or tragic accidents can still occur. Let’s take a look at the ways to keep children safe around pools year-round.
Safety Precautions for Pools
According to the CDC, drowning is the number one cause of unintentional death for children between the ages of one and four. It’s important to take as many preventative measures as possible to keep children safe because they may be too young to understand why the pool is dangerous or not have the skills to swim.
Let’s start with how to make the area of the pool as safe as possible. One of the first major ways to protect children around pools is a fence—that’s for the pool only. While you may already have a property fence that can keep other people from accessing the pool, a pool fence can protect those in your household. When the pool is fenced in, the children have a significant barrier preventing them from accessing the pool when they’re not supposed to.
A pool fence should meet certain requirements. For example, the fence should be at least four feet high, go around the length of the pool, not have any parts that could be used to climb over, and a child shouldn’t be able to fit through the bars or slats of the fence. The next major component is the locking mechanism. Make sure the latch is well above a child’s reach and should close and latch on its own. Having the gate open outward away from the pool also helps.
Another part of the pool that needs to be checked for safety is the pool cover. During the summer, it’s common for people to use a solar cover. This helps bring in heat to warm the water and also prevents leaves and other things from scattering into the pool. However, these can appear to be solid to a child. If they are running around the pool, they may think that cover can bear their weight. If they go under the water, they could face more difficulty if they get stuck under the pool cover. Children may also run onto the cover if a toy rolls onto it.
When it gets cold, pool owners typically close down the pool with a winter cover. These are typically locked down and taut, but they still can create a drowning risk. If it’s not locked in correctly, part of the winter cover could become loose. If a child falls through that small crack, they will be dealing with freezing cold water, lack of light from the cover, and only a small area where they are able to get out. Even if the winter cover is on correctly, children can still drown if they run onto the cover. They may sink a bit and the pool could have standing water from melted snow or rainstorms—these can still pose drowning risks.
Drowning often happens silently—there aren’t sounds of splashing or shouting to alert anyone to go help. To prevent the risk of drowning, you can add alarms that will make this sound for you. Consider adding alarms to your house doors, which will tell you when someone enters or exits the house. The pool fence can also have alarms, so you know when someone accesses the pool area. With this in place, you’ll know immediately when someone is near the water and reduce the chance of a tragic accident happening near the pool.
Some other tips for those in charge of children include introducing swimming lessons as soon as possible, setting clear rules about not being around pools without an adult when the child is old enough to understand, and always remaining vigilant about supervision. If there is ever a moment where you do not know where the child is, check the pool first no matter what, even if you thought the child was inside the house.
If you are supervising children in a pool, there are steps you can take to increase your chance of noticing emergencies. Reduce distractions like cell phones or books—anything that will take your eyes off the pool. If you are in an area with a lifeguard, still maintain your supervision. Rotate with a trusted adult at regular intervals.
Pools Can Be Premises Liability Threats
Was your child injured around a pool without proper safety precautions? You can seek justice for your child and hold the liable party accountable for their actions with a Cincinnati personal injury lawyer from Thomas Law Offices. Get in touch with us today for a free consultation.
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