Swimming Pool Accidents :: Pool Safety Tips that Can Be the Difference Between Life and Death

swimming pool step free image.jpg

A family vacation took a tragic turn when a 6 year old boy drowned in one of the pools aboard a Carnival Cruise Line ship while at sea. Qwentyn Hunter was playing with his 10 year old brother, when suddenly he began to drown. There was a cry for help and the DJ announced there was a child in the pool. Passengers dove in to save the boy and pulled him out of the 4 ½ foot deep pool. Passengers were the first to administer CPR until Carnival’s medical team arrived – Carnival does not have lifeguards on its ships.

Witnesses say the attempts to save Qwentyn’s life lasted around the 20 minute mark. It is also reported that one of the parents was at the pool when he drowned. Witnesses said it happened so fast, by the time they got to him it was too late. It is unknown how long he was underwater. There are currently no laws requiring cruise ships to post lifeguards at their pools.

Swimming Pool Safety Tips

Florida loses more children under the age of five to drowning than any other state. The unintentional drowning rate was so alarming, that the Office of Injury Prevention developed a campaign to raise awareness and educate the public on pool safety tips.

A few simple steps can make all of the difference:

• Choose designated swimming areas (preferably with lifeguards present).
• Do not allow little ones to swim alone. Avoid this even if it is at a lifeguard beach or public pool.
• Make sure children learn how to swim well at an early age – there are various organizations and programs throughout South Florida.
• Never walk away and leave a child unattended near water. If you leave someone to watch them, make sure it is another adult and not another child. Water that appears shallow is often deep.
• Explain the dangers to young children and teach them to always ask permission to go near water.
• Have young children or inexperienced swimmers wear approved life jackets around water. Make it a point to also explain that having a life jacket on does not mean it is ok to be careless.
• Establish swimming rules for the family and make sure that you enforce them.
• Make sure to also set rules based on each individual person’s swimming ability. For example, a smaller child that may not know how to swim may have to stay on the steps of the pool, where others may not be able to cross a certain line or mark that goes into the deep side of the pool.
• Be careful walking by shorelines, lakes and rivers. Currents, temperatures and underwater hazards can make an accidental fall dangerous.
• If you are on a boat, please wear a life jacket. The majority of boating fatalities are drowning accidents.

Making the Pool Safer:

• Make sure to install barriers that enclose the entire pool area. They should at least be 4-feet high with gates that are self-enclosing, self-latching and open outward (away from the pool). The latches should be high enough so that small children cannot reach them.
• Move structures that can provide access to the pool. This can include outdoor furniture, decorative walls, playgrounds and climbable trees.
• If you have an inflatable pool, make sure to remove access ladders when it is not in use.
• Do not leave toys that are not in use in the pool. A toy can catch the attention of a young child and tempt them to reach for the toy.

In Case of Emergency:

• If a child is missing, check the water first. Getting there seconds earlier can prevent disability or death.
• Take a course on pool safety and learn CPR. It cost almost nothing and can be the difference between life and death.
Read more

Swimming Pool Accidents In South Florida Can Be Prevented

pool for blog.jpg

The Florida summers bring residents and visitors of the state some of the most perfect weather found across the nation. Though some may consider the humidity to be a deal breaker when it comes to outdoor activities, there is no greater relief from the sun’s rays than a quick dip in the pool. We all remember being young and trying to escape the thick summer air by going to our backyard, or community pool, to engage in all the fun activities associated with swimming pools. Most Floridians are raised to appreciate the dangers that come with being around pools; however, year after year, we are left dealing with horrific tragedies that result from accidents and negligent conduct involving swimming pools. Unfortunately for parents, it is children who suffer the most injuries with regard to our summer heat refuge.

In order to try and protect our children from what many of us may consider being a living nightmare, it is important that we educate kids from an early age on the importance of swimming pool safety. The state legislature has indicated that drowning is the number one cause of death of children in this state, and it should be our number one goal as parents and adults to try and change this fact as best as possible. There is a variety of swim lesson courses available to everyone in every county in Florida. Placing our children in swim classes as soon as possible should be our priority given that we are a state that is surrounded by pools, lakes and oceans.

Some programs, such as ones offered through the YMCAs across the state, provide lessons for children as early as six months old. This may sound extreme to some; however, the harsh reality of losing a child to an accidental drowning has to be the most extreme loss one could suffer. These type of programs get children acclimated to being in water, and provide basic knowledge of treading water and getting to the pools edge until an adult can get to them. The simplest techniques that our children can absorb from an early age may be the difference in saving their lives. Also, being certified in CPR training can help to eliminate the time it may take for rescue services to arrive on scene. When we are knowledgeable on how to treat a child who is not breathing due to drowning, we are taking steps towards reducing the number of deaths attributed to swimming pool accidents.

Additionally, home owners and operators of public and private swimming pool facilities need to follow the strict guidelines put in place for the safety of everyone around pools. Mechanisms used to alert us when children have entered a pool area are available for those who own pools. Placing lockable gates around pools is the obvious preventative measure to keep young children away from the water when supervision is unavailable. The unfortunate reality is that even when we take every precaution to prevent our children from being injured around pools, there are still situations where the negligent conduct of a third party is the cause of the harm. Children will always be attracted to pools. It is our responsibility as adults to do whatever we can to help protect them from those unforeseen and devastating swimming pool accidents.
Read more