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Swimming Pool Tips

Remembering the Dangers of Swimming Pools in Fall and Winter

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Summer is coming to an end and now more than ever, you need to keep yourself and your
loved ones safe from the dangers of swimming pools. As the cooler weather sets
in, swimming pools become less used although just as dangerous when the proper
safety measures are not observed. It is imperative that you keep observing pool
safety practices in addition to employing some new practices to ensure that
everyone stays safe even when the pool is not in use.

Common Risks 

Fall is now in full swing and people are beginning to shy away from swimming as the
weather gets cooler and cooler. As much as public swimming pools are risky,
they do not compare to the dangerous nature of private backyard pools especially
during the fall and the winter. Most people fail to observe the necessary
preventative measures to ensure that no accidents occur during these two
seasons. 

Unfortunately,children are the most common victims of fatal backyard pool accidents. Negligence
plays a huge part in the occurrence of these tragic incidences. To put things
in perspective, a total of 137 children below 15 years old drowned this summer
alone according to the CPSC. 

The ominous risk of drowning doubles every time children are left unsupervised in
swimming pools or if the swimming pool area is not safe for kids. Other than
drowning, the slippery poolside area and contaminated pool water remain two
prevalent causes of swimming pool injuries and ailments. 

Preventative Measures

1. Pool Covers

The topic of pool covers is still a controversial one owing to the fact that they
have contributed to a large number of drowning incidences. Although primarily
used to cover the pool in order to prevent contamination from debris (such as
falling leaves during autumn), some can actually minimize the risk of drowning.

There are three types of pool covers:

  • Solar pool covers
  • Winter pool covers
  • Safety pool covers

People often make the mistake of thinking that all types of pool covers can serve both
purposes when in fact the safety pool covers are the best suited for preventing
drowning during the fall. Ideally, a winter pool cover is recommended for the
chilly winter period.

2. Fences

Fencing the area around the pool is a great way to prevent accidents involving children
under the age of 5 years old. As advised by PoolSafely.gov,
the fence should be fairly automated with self-latching gates and alarms
that go off when the gates are opened without an adult’s knowledge. 

3. Pool Drains

A number of tragic pool accidents occur as a result of uncovered pool drains.
Investing in a quality anti-entrapment covers is a wise move that will protect
the swimmers from the strong suction power of the drain. 

4. Swimming Lessons

It goes without saying that good swimming skills are a necessary preventative
measure against drowning. Ensure that every member of your family gets the
necessary training from a certified swimming instructor.

5. First Aid Skills

CPR is easy to learn and a crucial skill in times of tragedy. Teaching even the youngest
members of your family the basic first aid techniques is an important step
towards minimizing the risk of tragedy occurring in your backyard swimming
pool.

Remember, adult supervision should always be present whenever there are people in the swimming
pool. Keep those first aid skills sharpened and those emergency contacts ready
at all times.

Why a swimming pool owner has a legal duty to safeguard

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Swimming pool owners are required to maintain the safety of their pool area. A swimming
pool is a structure that is attached to fealty. For this reason, it is regarded
as property. 

All property owners have a social and civil duty to make sure that their property
remains safe at all times. Herein are several reasons why a swimming pool owner
has legal duty to safeguard.

OCCUPIERS LIABILTY

According to the Residential and Commercial Swimming pool Safety Act, there are certain
duties afforded to a swimming pool owner regarding safety measures and
barriers. This duty is owed both under common law and under the Occupiers
Liability Act of 1957.

For swimming pool owners; there are three different kinds of duty. These duties may
sometimes overlap. The first is the duty that attaches property occupiers in
respect of the state of the property which has to be judged in the context of
the purpose for which the visitor is in the pool. 

Secondly, there are swimming pools which cannot be termed as unsafe but may bear some
hidden dangers. Finally, there are those pools whereby activities have been
permitted that may give rise to dangerous situation themselves. Under all three
scenarios, the 1957 Act obliges the property owners to provide structures or
premises that are reasonably safe for whatever activities are allowed to be
carried out within them.

In the event of any incidences, the individual cases will be fact sensitive. However,
it is still very important for swimming pool owners to provide safeguard. It is
likely that common law would not arise in some cases but it still remains a
social obligation for the pool owner. The reason for this is that swimmers
would naturally assume that there should be some sort of safeguard since they
understand that to be the norm. 

Depending on whether the swimming pool is residential or commercial, any arising legal
cases can go in either direction. In some instances, owners who fail to provide
safeguard can be held liable to prosecution for misdemeanor. This is because
severe injury or death can result due to this negligence.

ATTRACTIVE NUISANCE

It does not take a swimming pool expert to know that drowning is a leading cause
of preventable death in children under the age of 5 years. For this reason, a
swimming pool owner has special duty in regards to child trespassers. Under the
child trespassers doctrine, the pool owner can be found liable for any injuries
suffered by a trespassing child. The same owner may be let off if the
trespasser is an adult. 

Attractive nuisance refers to anything that could arouse the curiosity of a small child
and attract them into premises to investigate the said object. In a court of
law, water bodies including swimming pools may be classified as attractive
nuisance. Due to a child’s inability to reason, they will likely be attracted
to an accessible pool therefore endangering their safety. The supreme court of
the respective state sets forth the regulations for determining if something is
or is not an attractive nuisance in individual cases.

For these are numerous other reasons, all swimming pool owners have to implement
certain safety procedure including but not limited to setting up enclosures, incorporating
mesh pool fencing, employing pool safety covers, hiring lifeguards, swimming
pool alarms and depth indicators.

Not even a minute – leaving a child unattended at a pool

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Swimming pools are great for recreational activities and all round family fun for both
adults and children. However, they can also be a source of great unexpected
anguish and adverse eventualities. Drowning is well known to take the lives of
more toddlers than any other type of recreational accident. Additionally, the
children who are lucky enough to survive a near drowning experience are often
afflicted with temporary or permanent brain damage from the lack of oxygen.

Children between the ages of one and four are at the greatest risk of being involved in
a water body incident. The main reason for this phenomenon is that at this age,
children are extremely active and full of curiosity. They are always learning
new skills every day and adults have to keep a keen eye on them at all times.
They can suddenly learn how to operate doors and wonder off to the swimming
pool area.

One common misconception about drowning is that it happens dramatically with the
victims flailing around in the water. The truth is that drowning is rather event less. A child can fall into a swimming pool and drown silently without
ever calling out for help. There are numerous cases of people drowning right in
the midst of experienced swimmers without anyone even noticing. 

These incidences clearly emphasize the importance of not leaving a child unattended
at a pool for even one minute. A child can drown in about a minute or two. A
large percentage of child drowning happen at the homes of the parents,
neighbors or relatives. Fortunately, these are some measures that parents and
caregivers can take to prevent such incidences.

ADULT SUPERVISION

The supervision of children around the swimming pool should never be undertaken as
normal supervision, whereby the parent or caregiver checks on them from time to
time. This active supervision involves keeping the children in direct sight at
all times. Parents must never leave a child alone in or around a swimming pool,
even for a few seconds. This is regardless of whether the child knows how to
swim or is wearing standard issue floaters. 

If there are many children, caregivers can assign some of the supervisory work to
a responsible older child or teenager. This assistant should be carefully
instructed to keep the children in direct sight and at arm’s length at all
times. It is important to always keep rescue equipment such as the safety rings
and long poles within easy reach in case of anything. If parents are having a
private pool party, they should consider enlisting the services of a
professional lifeguard.

BARRIERS

Barriers are essential for keeping the children away from the pool area when it is not
being used. The pool gate and fences should meet the recommended safety
standards including a self-closing gate than open away from the pool side.
Always use safety locks whenever the swimming pool is not in use. 

All the doors and windows leading to the pool area should close and latch
automatically. The latch releases should be child proof and out of reach of
young children. It is also advisable to invest in swimming pool alarms.

It is also very important that children are taught how to swim when they are old
enough. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, the recommended age is
4 years. This should not replace active adult supervision but complement it.

Keep Your Kids Pool-Safe All Summer

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Summer brings along the warmest months of the year. It is the perfect time for your kids to enjoy swimming, be it in your own backyard pool or a community pool. It is a fun activity that is enjoyed by most people but sadly, not many take the necessary precautions and safety measures seriously.

Many things can happen in a swimming pool. Aside from the risk of drowning, swimming pools pose serious health hazards when not properly maintained. Furthermore, your children risk nasty slips and falls from poorly maintained pool equipment and decks.

As such, it is imperative that you employ the proper measures to ensure the safety of your children as they enjoy their summer vacation. It takes a combination of a keen eye and a precautionary mind to prevent many of the dangers that surround the pool area in general.

Before You Visit the Swimming Pool:

Consider taking your kids through a swimming program. Just because they splash around and have fun in the pool (which, admittedly, is the goal of the activity for them) does not mean that they can swim. Basic swimming knowledge empowers your child to know how to prevent himself/herself from drowning and even to help fellow children in case an adult is not present.

Ensure you bring enough water and energy-packed snacks. Swimming is strenuous activity and you should ensure that your children restore their energy and hydration levels constantly.

Ensuring Your Children’s Safety as They Swim

1. Keeping an eye on your kids while they swim is not something to take lightly.

Accidents can take place in a matter of microseconds and it is your quick reactions that will save the situation. Always ensure you have a clear view of all the people in the pool at all times. Drowning can sometimes occur quietly and without any commotion whatsoever and as such, your keen eye is what will detect the distressed swimmer.

2. Styrofoam floaters and water wings do not constitute as proper swimming equipment.

These do not warrant you to divert your attention away from the children because in the event of contingency, they will be useless. Always ensure that the poolside has at least one adult or a teenager with proper training.

3. Your pool should be clear enough for you to see all the way through to the drain covers.

This way you will not only notice any defects that may harm the
swimmers, but you will also be able to see anyone who gets trapped in it and
react in time. Pool drains are strong enough to suck in adults, let alone
preschool kids.

4. Do not allow any of you children into the pool if they are sick.

Other than the obvious danger they will be putting themselves in, a sick child can contaminate the pool and infect every other person in it. Keeping your kids pool-safe entails protection even from sickness brought about by swimming in an
unhygienic swimming pool.

5. Keep the area around the swimming pool spotless.

Try as much as you can to clear the immediate vicinity of the pool in order to prevent accidental trips and falls. Limbs can be broken on the tiled surface of the deck and a child may even fall into the pool and suffer serious injuries.

Always ensure that the poolside has a life ring and a safety hook nearby in case you have to save a swimmer in distress. A poolside phone can also prove handy in emergency scenarios, as it will offer you quick access to emergency services.
Always stay alert and on the lookout for any signs of distress while your kids
are in the pool.