A Closer Look at Pool-Related Dangers Facing Children
June 19th, 2018 by Wapner Newman
Maybe you have a pool. Perhaps your neighbor does. You might even have a swimming oasis that’s accessible to everyone in your Philadelphia community. After all, as of 2015, Pennsylvania was home to nearly 130,000 in-ground and almost 140,000 above-ground pools, according to figures from The Association of Pool & Spa Professionals.
In other words, you’re probably not far from being able to splash, play Marco Polo, or simply do laps.
While most of us associate pools as an inviting place to work out or spend a relaxing summer day, they’re not harmless playthings. In fact, swimming pool deaths continue to affect people from all generations. Case in point: As recent information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) illustrates, the top risk factors for drowning injuries and fatalities are being male, being a young child, and being a member of a minority group. However, that doesn’t mean that anyone is truly safe from becoming a statistic.
When more than 3,500 people across the nation lose their lives to unintentional drowning annually, it’s a serious problem that begs for an answer.
Want to reduce drowning? Start by sorting out fact from fiction.
Although most people would never set out to spread misinformation, plenty did in 2017 when a case of so-called “dry drowning” hit the Internet. As a piece from The Inquirer noted in May 2018, “dry drowning” doesn’t exist. Consequently, many individuals spent energy worrying not about the basic issue, but chasing a mythical medical condition.
Rather than focusing on fiction, pool owners and facility managers with pool responsibilities should get up to speed on the CDC’s recommendations to improve the safety of all pools. A great place to start is by considering the ease of a pool’s accessibility.
For instance, having a three-sided fence isn’t enough to stop children from walking out of a home, onto a patio, and straight into a pool. What’s the solution? First, consider that the majority of kids who drown are at a home-based pool. That means owners need some way to stop them from effortlessly getting into the pool. Completely surrounding that type of private pool area with a high, locked fence that has four sides can cut a youngster’s chance of drowning by 83 percent. Adding an alarm provides even more protection. Yes, it costs money to create such barriers, but it’s well worth spending the resources to potentially save a life.
Another way that homeowners can stave off drowning occurrences is by never allowing anyone to swim unsupervised. Whether that means hiring a lifeguard for a child’s outdoor pool party or simply having someone else at the pool area when someone is swimming, it’s a smart decision.
Finally, pool owners must recognize that alcohol and swimming don’t mix. Intoxication impairs an individual’s physical and mental abilities, leaving him or her more likely to drown. This can happen with strong swimmers who have simply had too much to drink and jumped in a pool or body of water. Thus, it’s best to lay off the alcohol at pool get-togethers.
Although it’s important to have fun during the warm Pennsylvania months, it’s just as critical to make wise decisions regarding any type of in-ground or above-ground swimming pool. If you already have one or are putting one in this year, pay attention to making it a safe zone, not a hazardous one.
Experienced a personal injury event? Wapner Newman Attorneys at Law can help you understand your rights. Contact our offices today to arrange for a free consultation.