Drowning Highlights Need for Pool Safety
A 4-year-old's drowning in a backyard pool draws attention to safety tips for pool owners.
As the summer heats up, families everywhere are taking the covers off pools in anticipation of long summer days splashing around in the backyard. But with the fun and excitement also comes danger.
More than 60 percent of all pool-related deaths and injuries occur in pools owned by the victim’s family or friends, according to federal statistics. That message was hammered home last month, when a four-year-old child drowned in a backyard pool just across the bridge in Portsmouth. With a heightened awareness of pool safety, Amica Insurance is sharing some important safety tips and reminders for pool owners this summer.
Each year, nearly 400 children drown in pools and spas, and more than 5,000 others are treated for pool-related injuries, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission. People who own pools need to be especially cautious because more than 70 percent of all pool injuries occur in backyard pools, including in-ground, above-ground and portable pools.
Pool owners need to take safety precautions, even when their pools aren’t in use, said Michael Gillerlane, a senior assistant vice president with Amica Insurance. Make sure pools are fenced with self-closing gates and that pool areas and ladders are secure.
“Even wading pools pose a drowning risk for toddlers and young children,” Gillerlane said. “So make sure to empty wading pools when they’re not being used.”
The American Red Cross and the CPSC also recommend that pool owners:
- Don’t let anyone swim unsupervised in a pool.
- Fence pools with a four-foot or taller fence with self-closing and self-latching gates. Make sure pool gates are closed and locked, especially when not in use.
- Install pool and gate alarms.
- Keep life jackets and flotation devices on hand.
- Assign a “water watcher” to keep an eye on anyone swimming in the pool.
- Keep emergency equipment, such as life preservers, a first aid kit and a cell phone, nearby.
- When the pool is not in use, remove all pool toys.
“Pools are great fun, but they also come with risks and responsibilities – for swimmers and homeowners alike,” Gillerlane said. “It’s important that everyone understand the importance of pool safety to ensure that everyone has a fun, safe summer.”