Winter is a great time to consider pool and spa safety. Although spring and summer are typically when pool owners are reminded of pool safety’s importance, it is vital to remember that even if you’re not actively using your pool or spa, it still poses a danger to youngsters.
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) conducted a study of swimming pool accidents in Arizona, California, Florida and other states where pools are common, and found that 65 percent of the accidents occurred in a pool owned by the victim’s immediate family, and that 77 percent of the victims had been missing for five minutes or less when they were found in the pool. Children between age 1 and 3 made up 75 percent of the victims in pool submersion or drowning accidents. Based on the results of their study, CPSC developed their swimming pool safety guidelines. One of the CPSC’s conclusions was that “the best way to reduce child drowning in residential pools was for pool owners to construct and maintain barriers that would prevent young children from gaining access to pools.”
Assuming you already have pool fencing in place, this is a good time of year to put away pool accessories that may have accumulated in the pool area (rafts, chairs, balls, noodles) to improve safety and visibility around the pool, as well as removing anything a child could use to climb up on and over the pool fence. CPSC points out that pool gates should be self-closing and self-latching, and include a lock. Pool gates should open out, away from the pool area, so that a child pushing on the gate will actually close it and latch it. Homeowners should periodically inspect fencing and gates to ensure that pool fencing isn’t damaged or deteriorated and that all latches and locks are working properly.
Winter is actually a great time to enhance your pool safety measures, since there is probably less supervision when swimming and pool time are not the main family activity. Todd Mattson of Phoenix based DCS Pool Barriers highly recommends maintaining layers of security when it comes to pools. “We always recommend layers of protection,” he stresses. “And our company is the only company in the Phoenix metro area that provides all of the barriers including alarms, gates, fences and nets.”
A few simple safety checks and added pool safety devices can create a well-protected home and pool area for your family to enjoy year-round. Of course, all pool owners should familiarize themselves with and be in compliance with local pool safety ordinances. With proper supervision at all times and the recommended safety measures in place, the number of pool related accidents and drownings in the U.S. could be reduced significantly.