Pool Safety – keeping Safe around the pool

Guest post by Ken Walker

Many types of safety cover are available
Many types of safety cover are available

While a pool can be many things to many people, some benefits are universal.  By enjoying a backyard pool, homeowners improve their health and fitness, release and eliminate stress, and create a vibrant atmosphere for special occasions and family fun.

Overall, pool ownership is a lifestyle change and definitely one for the better – you don’t have to leave home to escape the rat race.  A pool gives opportunities to encourage togetherness or to appreciate quiet moments alone.

Most health professionals agree: – swimming is the single most beneficial activity for your whole body; being stress-free for joints and limbs.

Improved self-confidence and a positive attitude-change are also significant parts of the pool exercise package.  Pool aerobics are a preventative, therapeutic activity and a cardiovascular conditioner, particularly for those with arthritis and other disabilities.

“The more often you swim the longer you’ll live”, according to 2 studies of more than 335,000 people by Jeremiah Stamler MD, a heart-disease researcher from Northwestern University in Chicago, who estimates you may add 10 years to your life by swimming every day.

Your own private, backyard pool can transform the most ordinary occasion into a special event.  You can readily imagine some of the occasions around your pool; parties, barbeques, college reunions and quiet gatherings of friends – or just relaxing.

With colourful decorations, tasty food and music to fit the mood, your pool parties will create memories that will last a lifetime. The possibilities are endless. What better place to entertain your kids and their friends than at home, safe in your own family pool?

Pools are Very Dangerous Places

Be aware that your pool is a potentially life-threatening hazard and plan to make your pool the safest place that it can be.  Nobody ever plans for a tragedy like drowning – but pool-owners and pool-users should all plan to prevent one by paying attention to Pool Safety.

Drowning is the 3rd leading cause of death of children under five years of age in the USA, and the leading cause of death in some states such as California, Florida and Arizona (where there are more than the average percentage of properties with private pools).   Over 280 under-fives drown each year in private pools and spas in the USA.  In Spain alone 80 to 100 kids aged 1-4 drown every year in private pools. Enough cannot be said or read on this subject.

According to the USPS Commission “An estimated 3,000 children under age five, and an even greater number of adults, are treated in US hospital emergency rooms following submersion accidents each year.”  A percentage of these submersion accidents result in permanent brain damage.

In the USA a high percentage of married couples who have suffered the fatal drowning of a child end their relationships in an acrimonious divorce.  Additionally, in almost all of these tragic cases the family feel the need to move home.

Children must be constantly supervised when swimming; this is one of the most important aspects of Pool Safety and the more people in or around the pool, the more supervision is necessary. You need to assign one person who is dedicated to watching the children. If that person leaves the pool area, they must pass the duty to another responsible adult (a sober adult who can swim and has learned CPR).

Swimming lessons provide an excellent opportunity for kids to be self-confident in the pool, but the ability to swim is not a guarantee against drowning because kids of all ages constantly test their abilities and try out new tricks. An accident can happen at any time and once again supervision by a responsible adult is the key to pool-safety.

Pool water must be completely protected whilst not in use – to prevent drowning – with a Safety Cover, Security Fence, or a Safety Net. In the USA, Australia and France, to name but a few examples, every pool must be protected by a fence, cover or safety net by law. In many other countries there is a legal requirement to protect any pool that is not ’for the exclusive use of one family or household’. That means all Community pools, all pools at properties that are rented to holidaymakers or tourists, and all private pools where guests are invited along for a swim.

Teach and enforce basic pool rules

  • No eating, drinking, running or glassware in or near the pool.
  • Don’t dive from the side of an in-ground pool – enter the water feet first.
  • Don’t swim or dive if you’ve taken alcohol or drugs – your reactions will be slowed.
  • NEVER dive into above-ground pools; they are too shallow.
  • NEVER swim during a thunderstorm.

Under no circumstances allow or encourage swimmers to Hyperventilate in an attempt to swim further underwater. This practice can cause Shallow Water Blackout; the root cause of up to 50% of swimming pool fatalities.

Pool Safety Equipment

You should have a bare minimum of a ‘Shepherd’s Crook’ pool hook firmly fixed to a pole that will allow you to reach to the bottom of the deepest part of the pool, a First Aid box and a life belt. These items are only of use if they are within reach, so keep them poolside at all times.

You can find more information on pools and pool safety on Ken’s website mypoolguru.com

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