6 Rules for Pool Safety

According to the U.S. Consumer Products Safety Council, over 300 children under the age of 5 die each year in the U.S. in swimming pool drownings. Another 2,000 visit the emergency room. In some cities, drowning is now the leading cause of death in the home for children under 5 years of age.

What should parents do to keep their kids safe? Here are 6 rules every parent and caregiver should keep in mind.

  1. Never Leave a Child Unsupervised Near a Pool. Most drownings occur in familiar surroundings. 65% of swimming pool accidents happen in pools owned by family or close friends. Always keep an eye on your child is a pool or spa. Children between the ages of 1 and 4 years are at the highest risk.
  1. Fences = Safety. Completely fence your pool with self-closing, child-proof gates. Check safety locks regularly and always use them. Remember to move objects outside the fence that kids can use to climb over, including chairs and tables.
    Inspect your pool fencing regularly.
  1. “Hold Your Breath” Games Can Be Deadly. Sometimes kids play a game to see who can hold your breath longest underwater. Don’t let them. Hypoxia (lack of oxygen to the brain) can come suddenly before a child has time to surface, leading to accidental drowning.
  1. Don’t Depend on Pool Alarms Alone. Always use a pool alarm, but remember, if the alarm goes off, the child
    is already in the water. Sub-surface pool alarms have been found by the CPSC to be more reliable than floating models, plus these can be used with a pool cover.
  1. First, Check the Pool. Most children who drown in home pools were out of sight for less for less than 5 minutes. Time is the enemy in drowning cases. When a kid is missing, check the pool first.
  1. Talk to Your Kid About Pool Safety. Kids love pools and they’re great fun. Take the time to talk to with your kids about pool safety, explain safety in clear, age-appropriate rules. Be prepared to pull your kid for quiet time if your safety rules
    are not respected.

Enjoy. Have fun. Stay Safe.

Paul Zukerberg has been involved in swimming pool safety litigation since 1994, when he successfully sued a pool operator in the District of Columbia for negligence and wrongful death of a child. Recently, he served as guardian for a child who suffered a
traumatic brain injury in a diving board fall.

“As satisfying as winning this cases are, it would be more satisfying if these cases never came into my office,” Zukerberg said at a recent personal injury conference.