Monthly Archives

November 2016

Backyard Safety – Swimming Pools

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Backyard swimming pools are recreational facilities that can provide wholesome fun for the whole family in the warm weather. Besides being great fun, swimming is one of the best ways to stay in shape for everyone and is highly recommended by fitness experts as an effective way to proportionately lose weight and stay fit.

However, owning a backyard swimming pool does come with its own set of responsibilities, especially when it comes to the safety of the people using the swimming pool. There are a number of things that could go wrong in a swimming pool. The dangers of backyard swimming pools include drowning, fractured body parts and sometimes, even electrocution.

As such, backyard safety rules should be considered as not just a formality, but guidelines that could potentially save lives.

The 5 Cardinal Guidelines of Backyard Swimming Pool Safety

Swimming pool safety rules might vary depending on the location of the pool, the type of pool or the users who frequent the pool. However, the most vital guidelines to pool safety, regardless of a swimming pool’s specifications, can be exhaustively captured in the following 5 cardinal rules.

Rule # 1: Never Leave Children Unattended in The Swimming Pool

Sadly, there are too many real-life examples of why leaving your children to swim unattended is a bad idea. Drowning is one of the leading causes of death among children below the age of 5 years. A split second could save a drowning child, the same way a minute of inattention could result in catastrophe.

For adults supervising children in the water, your attention should be wholly focused on the swimming pool, not diverted to a book or your phone. Reaction times in case of an emergency will sometimes determine whether the injured child will pull through.

Rule # 2: Ensure That All Your Pool Facilities Are in Compliance with the Regulations

The suction power of a regular pool drain is enough to hold down a perfectly healthy adult long enough to drown them. Installing a pool drain cover is far from the end of it. You should also ensure that there are no partial gaps left and that the cover meets all standard regulations.

Rule # 3: Keep the Pool Area Properly Fenced and Locked Down When Not in Use

A proper pool barrier entails an unclimbable fence, child-proof locks on all the entries and alarm systems for when the area is accessed without adult consent. The entries should ideally be self-latching in case an adult forgets to lock them.

Rule # 4: Invest in Professional Swimming Lessons for Kids

Equipping children with the right swimming skills is very important for them, especially if done while they’re still young. Alongside the lessons, you should familiarize them with the various poolside regulations and instate a strict “No Diving” rule to prevent them from seriously injuring themselves.

Rule # 5: Ensure the Pool Equipment is Properly Maintained at All Times

Pool equipment and facilities break down and wear out with age. Regular checks are often done by pool installers for free and could help prevent accidents such as electrocution in the pool, which has an alarmingly high casualty rate. Regular inspections will cost you nothing and will give you peace of mind knowing that your backyard swimming pool is safe for use by your loved ones.

Learning CPR should be on the list of things to do once you install a backyard swimming pool. Don’t be caught flatfooted in a situation that could be easily resolved by basic first aid-skills. Poolside safety requires one to be vigilant for the sake of the pool users’ safety.

Alcohol And Swimming Pools – A Dangerous Combination

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Consuming alcohol before undertaking activities that require concentration (or any type of sober judgment for that matter) is generally a bad idea. We know how catastrophic drinking and driving can be, and how drinking on the job can lead to some serious workplace injuries.

However, combining alcohol and a swimming pool or a hot tub almost always results in tragedy, a fact that many are yet to understand the full implications of.

Having alcoholic beverages in and around artificial bodies of water is sadly evolving into a social norm as parties that are centered on pools and hot tubs are becoming more and more popular.

The need to educate people on the dangers of combining alcohol and swimming pools is now urgent because according to statistics, in 41 percent of the pool-related deaths of people between the age of 15 and 29 years, alcohol plays a role.

Why Is Alcohol So Bad When Swimming?

It goes without saying that creating a false sense of security is one of the biggest effects of consuming alcohol. This explains why people are often more willing to undertake unnecessary risks and do things that normally they would think twice about.

The Same case applies to alcohol and swimming. One can gravely misjudge the depth of a pool and dive to his/her own death. Some may suddenly feel confident enough to perform feats that require athlete-like stamina, which would ultimately lead to a fatal outcome.

A few other reasons why mixing alcohol and swimming pools is not advisable to include:

1. Impairs Judgment and Mars Coordination

Some of the effects of alcohol include numbing the senses and dramatically messing up the body’s coordination. This is why simple exercises like walking on a straight line for a short distance become impossible. Alcohol also prevents you from perceiving distances, depth and situations accurately.

2. Alcohol May Promote Hypothermia

When the body gets cold, blood is diverted from the limbs to the vital organs in order to help them retain heat. Alcohol will inhibit the body from doing this and if the water is cold enough (as swimming pools tend to be), a person will be at greater risk of death whether they get out of the water safely or not.

3. Alcohol Disorients and Impedes Quick Reactions

Walking, one of the simplest exercises one can undertake usually becomes more challenging after consuming alcohol. This is why swimming while inebriated can never result in anything positive.

In addition to inducing sudden temperature changes that can greatly disorient a person, alcohol also makes reactions drag out, thereby making one incapable of saving oneself in the event of an emergency.

4. Alcohol Significantly Reduces the Chances of CPR Being Effective

Once an accident occurs to a person in an inebriated state, first responders usually count on the person’s general health and state of the body to assist in recuperation. If the body is already heavily impeded from normal functioning by alcohol, the chances of simple resuscitation procedures such as CPR being effective are slim at best, and quite often, the person does not pull through.

Alcohol should be banned from the poolside area in general because all it takes is a slight loss of balance to end up in a life-threatening situation. Pool owners should always ensure that inebriated individuals stay away from swimming pools as they pose a significant danger to themselves and other pool users.

Wrongful Death Suit – When Swimming Pools Cease Being Fun

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Tragedy can strike unexpectedly especially around the swimming pool area. The popular recreational activity comes with its fair share of dangers and—as we have seen before on numerous occasions—it can turn grim in a number of unexpected ways.

When should I file a wrongful death suit?

Losing a loved one in an incident that was the result of another person’s negligence warrants you to file a wrongful death suit against that person. In many instances, the pool owner is liable regardless of whether he/she was present during the time of the incident. This is especially so if the accident was caused by a fault/insufficiency pertaining to the swimming pool itself or the poolside area.

You are eligible to file a suit against the pool owner following the death of a loved one on his/her property IF the death was a result of at least one of the following:

  • Negligence on the part of the swimming pool owner – an obvious lack of adherence to swimming pool safety guidelines makes the swimming pool owner directly liable for the death of your loved one. If for instance the victim was tripped by a rope, cable, or an object that was not supposed to be around the swimming pool area, this can be chalked down as negligence on the part of the pool owner.
  • A poorly equipped swimming pool facility – faulty pool structures such as unmaintained surfaces and faulty electronic components can easily lead to the death of individuals within the swimming pool. Children are especially prone to getting stuck in uncovered pool drains while exposed wires or faulty electronic appliances may lead to the electrocution of everyone in and around the pool.
  • Lack of proper safety equipment around the pool – In the event of an accident in the swimming pool, the life-guard/supervisor has only seconds to react as even the slightest delay can lead to the death or permanent injury of a swimmer. If, for instance, the poolside is not properly equipped with Coast-Guard approved life jackets and safety rings, this could delay rescue missions significantly and increase the risk of death when an accident happens.
  • Lack of properly trained lifeguards – a life guard’s role is not just to ensure that the swimming pool safety rules are adhered to, he/she is also the first responder in the event of an emergency. If the death of your loved one occurred due to an inexperienced or reckless lifeguard, it is the swimming pool owner that will be held accountable. Also, it is the legal obligation of swimming pool owners to ensure that there are enough lifeguards supervising the swimming pool.
  • Lack of clear signage – Although swimming pool owners are required to put up clear warning signs around the pool, they cannot hide behind the signs in the event of a lawsuit IF the death was as a result of any of the above causes.

When should I not file a wrongful death suit?

  • If the death of your loved one resulted from horseplay and/or activities that were restricted in and around the pool area such as running or diving in a shallow pool, it is not advisable to sue the pool owner, especially if the pool meets all the required pool safety standards.
  • If the victim died from natural causes that were in no way connected to the status of the pool or any insufficiencies of the pool area, you may not have the proper standard of proof which is necessary for you to win the case.

Although pool owners are legally obligated to ensure the safety of the individuals occupying the swimming pool at all times, the swimmers also have a role to play in ensuring their own safety by adhering to the various safety procedures around the pool area.