First-time users run the highest risk of injury! Before they enter the pool, inform them of the safety rules. Informed users are concerned about safety because serious injuries and even death can result from unsafe use of any pool, pool equipment, and associated products. Here are some examples:
- Drowning – According to the National Safety Council, drowning is a leading cause of accidental death in this country, especially for children under five. Although the greatest percentage of drownings occur in natural aquatic settings, (ie. oceans, lakes, quarries, etc.) drownings do occur in swimming pools.
- Paralysis – Improper diving or sliding, alcohol consumption, horseplay, or roughhousing in and around the swimming pools may lead to serious neck and spinal injuries including paralysis, in the form of quadriplegia or paraplegia.
- Burns/Fires – Chemicals needed for clean, sanitized water are potentially harmful when stored or used improperly. If mixed with other chemicals or elements, explosions and fire can occur. Read the label and follow the manufacturers instructions. Always store chemicals where they cannot be reached by children.
- Electrical Shock/Electrocution – Water is an excellent conductor of electricity. Electrical shock or electrocution can occur in a pool if live electrical current flowing through appliances and devices (including current for a telephone) comes into contact with the water. Make sure all electrical appliances and devices are protected by a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI).
- Cuts, Contusions and Abrasions – The pool environment, as well as associated products and equipment, can be a source of injury to users. Slipping and falling can result in cuts, scrapes, or broken legs and arms. Horseplay, improper use of equipment or failure to follow the manufacturers instructions or warnings can result in serious trauma and permanent disabling injuries.
Copyright 1993 by the National Spa and Pool Institute
- Never leave a child alone; out of eye contact supervision in or near the pool -not even for a second. There is absolutely no substitute for constant adult supervision.
- If you must leave the pool area, even for one minute, take your child with you. One lapse in supervision can spell tragedy.
- Do not allow anyone of any age to swim alone. Examples of good safety behavior by adults are important for children.
- Teach your children to swim! Three to five years of age is the best time for swimming lessons. Do not be lulled into a false sense of security because your child knows how to swim -adult supervision is still required. Never consider children water-safe despite their swimming skills, previous instruction or experience. Many professionals warn that these lessons may provide a false sense of security to a child’s family and not actually prepare a child for surviving a true emergency .
- Floating toys attract youngsters. Remove toys from the pool when not in use. Your child can easily fall into the pool while trying to retrieve one.
- Keep toys, particularly baby walkers, tricycles or wheel toys away from the pool. A child playing with these could accidentally fall into the water.
- Do not rely on plastic inner tubes, inflatable arm bands or other toys to prevent accidents.
- Remove vegetation and other obstacles to assure a clear view of the pool from the house.
- Make certain that all doors leading from the house to the pool area have a self-closing, self-latching mechanism above the reach of toddlers to protect against unauthorized entry and use. Limit access to the pool by locking doors or gates whenever swimming cannot be supervised.
- A fence, wall or natural barrier should be of sufficient height to keep unauthorized people out of your pool. If access gates are used, they should have a self-latching or self-closing mechanism.
- If you use a pool cover as a safety cover, it must comply with ASTM F 1346-91 Standard Performance Specification for Safety Covers and Labeling Requirements for All Covers for Swimming Pools, Spas and Hot tubs. Carefully read the manufacturer’s directions for safe use. Always completely remove the cover before using your pool.
Drain any standing water from the surface of your pool cover (ie. by using a water pump). Even a small amount of water may be sufficient for a small child to drown. Be especially alert for potential drowning accidents if you use any lightweight, floating pool covers (ie. solar or insulating covers). No one should walk or crawl on them. The pool should never be used when these covers are in use because you may become entrapped.
- Maintain a clear zone around the perimeter of the pool. Do not place objects (ie. chairs, tables, or equipment) near the pool barrier because a child or youngster could climb them to gain access to the pool.
- Keep lifesaving equipment next to the pool. These items should remain stationary and not be misplaced.
- To avoid entrapment, never use a pool if any of the grate outlets are missing or broken.
- Do not permit playful screaming for help (false alarms) which might mask a real emergency.
- Never leave children with caretakers or supervisors unless they are capable and responsible in the pool environment.
- Supervision should be continuous when the pool is in use. (When one supervisor is called away, ie. to answer the door bell, another supervisor must be appointed immediately.)
- When the pool is not in use, the pool owner is still responsible for safeguarding the pool.
In Case of Emergency:
- Dial the local emergency telephone numbers (911, or the appropriate 7-digit number for Emergency Medical Service (EMS), Fire or Police). It is advisable to install a telephone (or use a cordless telephone) in the pool or spa area.
- Give your:
- Telephone number you are calling from.
- Tell what happened and how many people need help.
- Don’t hang up the phone until after the emergency person does.
Adults in the family should be trained in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). CPR is the combination of rescue breathing and artificial circulation for victims of respiratory or cardiac arrest as a result of drowning, heart attack or other causes. CPR training is available through the local chapters of the American Red Cross or the American Heart Association.
Preventing an emergency is the best preparation: never leave a child alone in or near a pool, spa or any other body of water!