We share pool safety information because we care about our community
Training – learn to swim
Supervision – watch children closely, never swim alone
Access – Secure pool on all sides, use door/window alarms, self-closing self-latching gates
Pool Systems – be sure pool meets codes. Anti-entrapment drain covers, Hydraulics, Electrical. Always use certified, licensed contractors.
According to the CDC:
Every day, about ten people die from unintentional drowning. Of these, two are children aged 14 or younger. Drowning ranks fifth among the leading causes of unintentional injury death in the United States.
Swimming skills help. Taking part in formal swimming lessons reduces the risk of drowning among children aged 1 to 4 years. However, many people don’t have basic swimming skills. A CDC study about self-reported swimming ability found that:
- Younger adults reported greater swimming ability than older adults.
- Self-reported ability increased with level of education.
- Among racial groups, African Americans reported the most limited swimming ability.
- Men of all ages, races, and educational levels consistently reported greater swimming ability than women.
Seconds count—learn CPR. CPR performed by bystanders has been shown to save lives and improve outcomes in drowning victims. The more quickly CPR is started, the better the chance of improved outcomes.
Tips to help you stay safe in the water
- Supervise When in or Around Water. Designate a responsible adult to watch young children while in the swimming pool. Supervisors of preschool children should provide “touch supervision”, be close enough to reach the child at all times. Because drowning occurs quickly and quietly, adults should not be involved in any other distracting activity (such as reading, playing cards, talking on the phone, texting, web surfing or mowing the lawn) while supervising children, even if lifeguards are present.
- Learn to Swim. Formal swimming lessons can protect young children from drowning. However, even when children have had formal swimming lessons, constant, careful supervision when children are in the water, and barriers, such as pool fencing to prevent unsupervised access, are still important.
- Use the Buddy System. Always swim with a buddy. Select swimming sites that have lifeguards when possible.
- Seizure Disorder Safety. If you or a family member has a seizure disorder, provide one-on-one supervision around swimming pools.
- Learn Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR). In the time it takes for paramedics to arrive, your CPR skills could save someone’s life.
- Air-Filled or Foam Toys are not safety devices. Don’t use air-filled or foam toys, such as “water wings”, “noodles”, or inner-tubes, instead of life jackets. These toys are not life jackets and are not designed to keep swimmers safe. They also lead to a false sense of security.
- Avoid Alcohol. Do not drink alcohol while supervising children.
- Don’t let swimmers hyperventilate before swimming underwater or try to hold their breath for long periods of time. This can cause them to pass out (sometimes called “hypoxic blackout” or “shallow water blackout”) and drown
- Install Barrier. Install a four-sided pool fence that completely separates the pool area from the house and yard. The fence should be at least 4 feet high. Use self-closing and self-latching gates that open outward with latches that are out of reach of children. Also, consider additional barriers such as automatic door locks and alarms to prevent access or alert you if someone enters the pool area.
- Clear the Pool and Deck of Toys. Remove floats, balls and other toys from the pool and surrounding area immediately after use so children are not tempted to enter the pool area unsupervised.
What factors influence drowning risk?
The main factors that affect drowning risk are lack of swimming ability, lack of barriers to prevent unsupervised water access, lack of close supervision while swimming, location, failure to wear life jackets, alcohol use, and seizure disorders.
- Lack of Swimming Ability: Many adults and children report that they can’t swim. Research has shown that participation in formal swimming lessons can reduce the risk of drowning among children aged 1 to 4 years.
- Lack of Barriers: Barriers, such as pool fencing, prevent young children from gaining access to the pool area without caregivers’ awareness. A four-sided isolation fence (separating the pool area from the house and yard) reduces a child’s risk of drowning 83% compared to three-sided property-line fencing.
- Lack of Close Supervision: Drowning can happen quickly and quietly anywhere there is water (such as bathtubs, swimming pools, buckets), and even in the presence of lifeguards.
- Location: People of different ages drown in different locations. For example, most children ages 1-4 drown in home swimming pools. The percentage of drownings in natural water settings, including lakes, rivers and oceans, increases with age. More than half of fatal and nonfatal drownings among those 15 years and older (57% and 57% respectively) occurred in natural water settings.
- Alcohol Use: Among adolescents and adults, alcohol use is involved in up to 70% of deaths associated with water recreation, almost a quarter of ED visits for drowning, and about one in five reported boating deaths. Alcohol influences balance, coordination, and judgment, and its effects are heightened by sun exposure and heat.
- Seizure Disorders: For persons with seizure disorders, drowning is the most common cause of unintentional injury death, with the bathtub as the site of highest drowning risk.18
In the event of an emergency
The first challenge is to recognize when someone in the water is at risk of drowning and needs to be rescued. Early self-rescue or rescue by others may stop the drowning process and prevent most cases of initial and subsequent water aspiration, respiratory distress, and medical complications.
Don’t become a victim
Rescuers must take care not to become victims themselves. Panicked swimmers can thrash about and injure the rescuer or clutch at anything they encounter, dragging the rescuer under.
Certified lifeguards are trained to get victims out of the water safely. The American Red Cross slogan “Reach or throw, don’t go” means “Reach out with a pole or other object or throw something that floats; don’t get in the water yourself.”
Keep Your Pool Safe
Drains and outlets in pools and spas are inherently dangerous. When the pool circulation pumps are operating drains and outlets present suction entrapment risks. Hair can become entangled in drain covers and trap a swimmer or a swimmer can get stuck on the drain or any active outlet such as vacuum or suction pool cleaner ports. The Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety act requires every swimming pool and spa that has a main drain, other than an unblockable drain, be equipped with a drain cover that meets the consumer product safety standard established by the CPSC. Other suction ports are required to have a self-latching cover. If you have any questions regarding pool safety you should contact a certified licensed electrician. All electrical pool equipment including pool lights and metal handrails or ladders is required to have equipotential bonding. State of Florida building code also requires equipotential bonding for surrounding decking and pool enclosures. Pool lights require GFCI protection as well as pool pumps. If you have any questions regarding electrical safety you should contact a certified licensed electrician.