For many families, summer means swimming in the pool. During the COVID-19 pandemic, swimming has become an outlet more frequently used, and along with it, drownings have more frequently occurred.
According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, not letting your guard down around the pool this extended swimming season is as important as ever.
New data shows that many incidents involving child drowning happen at home in the summer.
Now, with the families spending more time around the pool, there is an upward trend in fatal child drownings. Luckily, these incidents can be avoided. Here are a few pool safety tips to help you stay safe during this prolonged pool season.
Set Up Safety Barriers
If you have a pool, then you need some sort of physical barrier such as a fence or wall around it to act as the first line of defense.
In some cities, municipal laws may mandate that you have a barrier and many home insurance policies require you to be in compliance with local laws in this regard as well.
In order to get a pool fence or barrier that is effective you should look for one that:
- Doesn’t allow children to get through, under, or over it by themselves
- Spaces in the fence should not be large enough for a small child to fit through
- Walls with holes, stones, or cutouts should not be large enough to provide footholds
- Gates for pool barriers should have a self-closing latch that a child cannot reach
It may not be necessary to install a hardscaped, permanent fence. Mesh pool barriers can fit the criteria if installed correctly. The big takeaway is that some sort of barrier is needed to prevent children from getting into the pool for everyone’s safety.
Secure the Doors and Gates
It’s important to think about all the ways a child can get into the pool from the house. Do a sweep of possible pathways and then do what you can to make it more difficult for them to pass through unsupervised.
A few things you can do to help secure the area include:
- Installing childproof lever locks, sliding glass door locks, or doorknob covers
- Considering gate alarms that will alert you to a gate being opened
If you’ve secured the area and still worry about a child getting through, then think about a pool alarm. This is an in-water motion detector that will let you know when there’s activity detected in the pool. You may also want to consider wearable alarms for little ones that are particularly adept at escape.
Take a Look at Pool Drains and Covers
The drains in a pool can create a suction underwater with enough force to trap a child below the surface, even if they’re a strong swimmer.
Make sure to install anti-entrapment drain covers. You should also ensure that all your drain covers are clean and not missing or broken to ensure that no one accidentally dies as a result.
Maintain the Pool Properly
It’s also important during a pandemic to ensure the pool is maintained properly with the correct chemicals. If properly maintained, the chlorine in the water can kill parasites and bacteria, making the water safe for everyone swimming in it.
All pool chemicals should be kept locked away and out of reach of children. Make sure to store them separately from other household cleaning products to avoid chemical reactions that may result in combustion.
Always keep a material safety data sheet (available from a pool chemical dealer) on hand so you understand how to handle, use, and store these chemicals.
Pools are fun, especially when it’s difficult to get out due to COVID. They are also dangerous. So pledge to take the right precautions to protect lives and your liability.
About the Author:
Andrew Winston is a partner at the personal injury law firm of Winston Law. For over 20 years, he has successfully represented countless people in all kinds of personal injury cases, with a particular focus on child injury, legal malpractice, and premises liability. He has been recognized for excellence in the representation of injured clients by admission to the Million Dollar Advocates Forum and named one of America’s Top 100 High-Stakes Litigators. Mr. Winston is AV Preeminent Rated by the Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory, enjoys a 10.0 rating by AVVO as a Top Personal Injury Attorney, has been selected as a Florida “SuperLawyer” from 2011-2020 – an honor reserved for the top 5% of lawyers in the state – was voted to Florida Trend’s ”Legal Elite,” recognized by Expertise as one of the 20 Best Fort Lauderdale personal injury attorneys, named one of the Top 100 Lawyers in the Miami area for 2015-2017, and one of the Top 100 Lawyers in Florida for 2015-2017 and 2019.