Staying safe around the swimming pool

Here comes summer and with it the opening of the multitude of pools that may be in your area. There is nothing better than jumping into a pool on one of our hot and humid days in Virginia. But pools can be dangerous if proper safety precautions are not taken.

You can never be too careful when it comes to being around water, especially for children. Each year over 300 children under the age of five drown in swimming pools. Approximately 3,000 children in that same arge group end up in hospital emergency rooms for injuries received in and around pools and spas. Nationally, drowning is the leading cause of death for children under five years of age.

So what can each of us do to make our visits to the pool safer for our families and for others?

  • Supervision – there is no substitute for keeping a close eye on someone.
  • Make sure children know how to swim.
  • Teach children some basic water safety tips.
  • Learn CPR and basic First Aid.
  • If a child is missing, always look in the pool first. Seconds count in preventing death or disability.
  • Never dive into an above-ground pool.
  • Only dive from the diving board into an in-ground pool, and never from the side.
  • Always remember to keep your hands in front of you when diving.
  • Alcohol and pools do not mix – you need to be aware and alert not only for yourself, but also for your family and others.
  • NEVER swim alone! Too many unexpected things can happen.
  • Know the water depths and where the drop-offs are located.
  • Stay away from bottom drains. The suction can attach to your bathing suit or skin hold you under.
  • Know your limits while in the pool and keep an eye on others to make sure they are ok.
  • Do not use floatation devices as a substitute for knowing how to swim or for supervision.
  • No running and no horseplay on the deck – injuries are common from falls when running or playing on the deck. Wet decks are slippery!
  • Finally, remember to wear sunscreen for your skin – re-apply approximately every 45-60 minutes when swimming for maximum protection.

Pools are wonderful places to spend your summers, but they can be dangerous and even deadly. A little preventive education will go a long way toward making your summer fun and safe. The US Product Safety Commission has great information on safety tips when you are in and around pools and hot tubs.

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About the Author: Paul Hux is a Petersburg accident attorney with the personal injury law firm of Allen & Allen. With a strong work ethic, he is dedicated to meeting the needs of every client.