If it wasn’t for people watching me carefully around swimming pools, I would probably have drowned as a toddler. I walked into the deep end of a swimming pool twice. That sort of experience has made me very aware of pools, especially when children are around.
Statistics: Non-boating related pool accidents kill an average of ten people a day. One in five are children under the age of fourteen. For each death there may be as many as four nonfatal pool accidents. This should scare all of us.
Laws: Because of these statistics there are laws about swimming pools. Pools have to be fenced and the gate lock has to be well out of reach of a child. If a pool is directly accessible from the house and a fence can’t be put up, pool alarms may be required. These laws do differ from state to state, so one of the first things any parent or pool owner needs to know is what those rules are.
Children: Most of the drowning victim are children. In fact, other than birth defects it is the number one killer of children under four. It is the number two killer of children under fourteen. Only car accidents tops it. There are many reasons for this, including lack of knowing how to swim.
Diving: Not all pool accidents are from drowning. Diving accidents bring 6500 teens a year to the emergency room. This can be from diving into water head first, diving into the shallow end of the pool or showing off by handstands, etc.
Illness: Do you know what’s in your swimming pool? Parasites and bacteria can often be alive and well in the pool. Studies show that giardia and cryptosporidium can be found in pools as well as e. coli. It may be hard to trace these illnesses back to a pool, but if you or a family member become ill after being in one, you may want to mention it to your doctor.
What drowning looks like: This youtube video will give you an idea of what drowning really looks like. It isn’t what you see on TV or in the movies. Knowing what you are looking for can make it a lot easier to prevent an accident or fatality.
While we call these events “accident” they are totally preventable. Whether it’s a tot that gets away from parents or a teen showing off, they can be stopped. All it takes is knowing what to look for and how to keep it from happening.