(ARA) - To ensure that all your summer memories are good ones, it's vital to be aware of the potential dangers of home swimming pools and take the appropriate safety measures.
By adding several layers of protection, homeowners can experience the pleasures of swimming pools and feel an added degree of assurance that their children, grandchildren and visitors will be safe.
Drowning is the second-leading cause of accidental death for children under five in the United States. Statistics from both the CDC and the CPSC show that hospital treatment for near-drowning is required for thousands of children each year.
"It happens everywhere, in ordinary neighborhoods, to caring, vigilant parents," Marcia Kerr, a CPSC investigator, says. Kerr, who lost her own son in a pool drowning accident, says, "Homeowners should take steps immediately to ensure the safety of children who live in or visit their homes. Layers of protection are essential."
Constant adult supervision is vital, but most parents realize it's impossible to supervise children every second of every day. Isolation fencing and other barriers can give parents the time they need to realize their child is missing and to re-establish eye-to-eye contact.
Isolation fencing separates the pool from the home, either surrounding the pool or enclosing all doors leading from the home, to protect children who get out the door from moving beyond the patio. Parents of toddlers should ensure "doggy doors" are locked or within fenced areas. For above-ground pools, a smaller fence and gate surrounding the steps or ladder can prevent toddler access.
Pool barrier codes require pool gates to be self-closing and self-latching, and to open away from the pool. The latch release may be required to be at 54 or 60 inches. Most codes require the latch to be key-lockable. Consult your building department for local regulations.
According to extensive research studies worldwide, isolation fencing with properly functioning gates is the only barrier with proven effectiveness. Other measures are recommended for additional layers of protection.
The National Drowning Prevention Alliance (NDPA) recommends that a "water watcher" be designated for safety when children are in the pool, to maintain eye-to-eye contact at all times. Most child drowning accidents occur when adults are momentarily distracted, leaving children unattended.
Toys or floating chlorine dispensers that look like toys should never be left in the pool area.
Courtesy of ARAcontent
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