Dozens of water-related medical emergencies occur in Arizona every year. The majority of these drownings and near-drownings occur in in-ground backyard swimming pools in Maricopa County. Although the state expanded its drowning prevention efforts in the 1980s, a time when Arizona had the nation’s worst pool-drowning statistics, a number of deaths still occur every year. For obvious reasons, pool drownings peak in the warmer months.
The main lines of defense against pool drowning are the legally mandated fences, gates, locks, self-closing back doors and setbacks that have been discussed in previous posts, and any competent pool contractor will be familiar with the regulations pertaining to them. Arizona pool contractors are also obligated by state law to give pool buyers “a notice explaining safety education and responsibilities of pool ownership.”
In truth, however, those are the minimum steps that should be taken to prevent tragedy. Wise pool owners will consult resources like the Drowning Prevention Coalition of Arizona (DPCA) or local authorities for more safety information.
If you own a pool, make sure that all residents of your home know how to swim or take swimming lessons. Lessons are offered for very young children and have been shown by studies to be effective in drowning prevention. In fact, two years ago the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) began advocating swimming lessons for children as young as a year old.
The AAP had previously been hesitant to recommend swimming instruction for children under 4 years old. Part of the reason for the organization’s reluctance was the fear that swimming lessons for very young kids would give them and their parents a false sense of security. Subsequent studies, however, showed that even toddlers can become proficient enough in the water to significantly reduce their risk of drowning.
Nevertheless, even the parents of kids with swimming skills need to be careful and vigilant. Besides having their children learn to swim, parents and guardians with backyard pools should:
- Learn CPR. Adults and older children in the household should take CPR classes, such as those offered by the Red Cross.
- Always remove toys from the pool when it’s not in use. Toys floating on the surface of the pool or sitting at the bottom are just an added enticement for kids to try to access the pool and jump in when there’s no supervision around.
- Keep rescue equipment nearby, such as a pole, rope and approved life preserver
- Avoid using air-filled swimming aids as a substitute for an approved life vests. Air-filled water wings and other devices might make the pool more enjoyable for small children, but kids using them should be supervised exactly as if they didn’t have them. (Which is to say, closely and constantly!)
When proper safety procedures are followed, a swimming pool will provide endless fun for the whole family. For a quality pool that’s made to last, Hop Cassidy Pools is the builder to choose. We bring more than 25 years of experience to constructing luxury pools for Valley homeowners. Call Hop Cassidy today at 480-905-8780 or contact us online at http://www.hopcassidypools.com/contact.html for your free initial consultation.