Deadly Combo - Tots and Pools  

by Pool Builders on 06-12-2008 in Articles

If you are lucky enough to live in a hot place, with temperatures into the eighties, you may also be lucky enough to own a swimming pool. So you will know that children between age 1 and 2 years old suffer the most pool accidents, often leading to death.

In fact, drowning is the most common cause of accidental death in children ages 1 to 4 years, almost makes you want to turn your pool into a giant sand pit, doesn't it? But there are other solutions, and awareness is the first.

Even the Government has become involved in the levels of pool safety that our children should expect from us. After the spa-death of a former Secretary of State's grand-daughter, a new Bill was passed.

The Bill is named for the seven year old grand-daughter of James A. Baker lll and was passed at the end of 2007. The 'Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act' was initiated after she died in a spa when the powerful suction of a drain entrapped her under water.

This is certainly the kind of accident that none of us would think of or anticipate. There is a natural trust that seems inherent in most of us which leads us to think that anything we buy will be 'human-safe'. This sad instance should serve to remind us all that extra safety and vigilance is needed regarding pools, spas, water and children.

One very good rule to have is: if you suddenly find that toddler is 'quiet' or missing, check the pool straightaway - you may only have seconds to revive a drowning child. Even if you know the pool is fenced and the gate is latched, check the pool straightaway.

Even a paddling pool with three inches of water in it can kill a child. So in all this sad and shocking discussion, is there a bright side? Being able to swim is a skill which can give an adult great confidence.

One of the obvious plusses of having your own pool is that your child will grow to feel comfortable in water and be able to learn how to swim. This will help prevent drowning accidents from ever happening and is a big advantage for any adult. The danger time is usually when the child can't swim, statistically between the ages of 1 to 4 years old.

It may not look as glamorous to fence in your pool with a locked gate, but think of the consequences. It could be a selling point if you were selling your home to a young family. We would all like to afford a power pool safety cover, but there are also less expensive ways to insure your family's safety. Instead of the more expensive dome cover, there is also a kid's safety net that can be bought ('katchakid') which hardly detracts from the look of your pool. (This would be suitable for grandparents also who would only need a temporary safety precaution on visiting days.)

Apart from obvious precautions, listed below, it is always an asset to take one of the Red Cross Courses for CPR and First Aid. Other precautions that should be taken can include:

Pool alarms that alert you when someone enters the pool can be set to sound inside the house.
At the end of each day, ensure that toys which may 'tempt' children are not left floating on the water.
Keep a telephone and a reaching pole poolside.
Remove all ladders from the pool each night
Install a self-closing and self locking gate.
Cover the pool each night with your safety device.
Every time your child plays outside he/she should wear a safety vest.

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