According to a study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), from 2005-2009 there were an average of 3,533 fatal, unintentional drownings (non-boating related) annually in the US, and about one in five of those people were children under 14. Additionally, for every child who dies from drowning, another five receive emergency department care for nonfatal submersion injuries.
A backyard pool can be a cooling oasis and a relaxing place to beat the heat of the Florida summer, but it is also a place where accidents can happen if homeowners aren't careful.
Here are 5 simple pool safety steps you can take to help protect your family.
1. Never allow children to swim unsupervised.
Many pool-related injuries occur even while an adult is outside, in the immediate vicinity of the pool...but otherwise distracted. Keeping kids safe around the pool requires that an adult should always be watching and within arms reach.
2. Cover Your Pool
One of the best investments pool owners can make is a sturdy, anchored pool cover for when the pool is not in use. Not only does it keep out unwanted debris (and animals like frogs) but it also can keep curious children from falling in. Covering your pool is even more important in colder months when chilly water can make it more difficult for a swimmer to get out safely after a fall.
3. Install a Fence
Florida law requires that a protective fence, at least 4 feet tall, surround all pools. This measure can keep your neighbors out of your pool, but what about your family members who can't swim. Protective pool barriers surround the immediate pool area and are designed to keep people (especially kids) from getting even close to the pool. It is strongly recommended that if you have children under 5, you install a child protective pool barrier.
4. Reach or Throw...Never Go
Many drowning accidents actually occur when a well-meaning individual jumps into the water to rescue a struggling swimmer. Having a pool hook and flotation device close by the pool at all times is a recommended safety measure by the American Red Cross to make sure good intentions don't lead to injury.
5. Check Drains and Suction Covers
Entrapment in pool drains or suction fixtures are hazards many families don't think about. Yet each year kids get fingers and toes stuck in these areas. Use protective meshing available at pool supply stores to cover suction fixtures and ensure that broken or damaged drain covers are repaired immediately.
* Bonus Tip *
Although drowning is the greatest risk associated with backyard pools, each year, thousands of people are treated for severe sunburns in emergency rooms. Be sure that everyone is wearing appropriate clothing or sunscreen.
For more backyard safety tips, read - How to Keep Your Kids Safe on Backyard Playsets and sign up for blog notifications