As we move into the summer season and start to use our pool’s, it is always good to remind ourselves of the basics of pool safety. It is very easy to get a relaxed attitude when it comes to pool’s because of the relaxation that they can provide, but the reality is they can be deadly. In the US nearly 5,000 children under the age of 14 are hospitalized due to unintentional drowning accidents, 15% die as a result and 20% suffer permanent neurological disability.
If you’re a homeowner with a pool or a business owner who operates a pool, you must take every precaution to protect the users of the pool and the public in general. There are many examples where a homeowner is having a birthday pool party for their young child, only to have one of the guests drown because they were not being supervised properly. It also does not take long to find examples of where a child drowned at a business that has a pool, most commonly a hotel or motel, we have even seen an example of this not to long ago right here in Nova Scotia.
You must recognize that as the property owner you are 100% liable for anything that happens in or around that pool. So if you have a pool you need to make sure you are taking every step possible to protect the people using the pool. Here are some tips for property owners with pools, these are for both homeowners and business owners.
- Always watch children while they are in or near the pool, flotation devices don''t count as supervision.
- Make sure that your pool has anti-entrapment drain covers
- Access should be strictly controlled to the pool area, if the pool is outdoors have a fence of no less that four feet surrounding it. Be sure that outside access is locked so that neighbor’s cannot enter the pool area without you knowing.
- If you are in a business setting or are considering hosting a number of people to your pool at home (ie children's pool party), hire a lifeguard. It's worth spending the money on having someone trained to keep people safe then have to deal with the lawsuits and heartache of someone dying or being severely injured in an accident.
- Install a non-slip surface around the outside of your pool. I have seen all to often tiles or other surfaces around pools that get slippery when they are wet. Don't make this mistake, bring in the right professionals to give you a safe surface.
- Make sure that all pool equipment is working correctly, that all ladders are properly secured, that all steps are maintained properly.
- Keep a first aid kit available and there should always be someone available to provide the necessary first aid.
Pools should be fun and provide a great source of entertainment and exercise, but they can turn deadly very fast. Take the time to make sure everyone is enjoying the pool safely.