Pool safety essentials to live by in Southern MD
A backyard pool can be a wonderful summer oasis. Swimming immediately cools people off on hot and humid days, and even provides thorough exercise that works many different muscles in the body. And summer revelers know that swimming and splashing in the pool is an entertaining activity for people of all ages.
Though pools are great summer spaces, one downside of pool usage is the potential for drowning. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that, every year in the United States, there are an estimated 3,960 fatal unintentional drownings - an average of 11 drowning deaths per day. In addition, around 8,080 nonfatal drownings occur. It's important to note that many of these incidents are unrelated to pool usage, as boating and even bathtub accidents contribute to drowning as well. But a 2020 review of 2,213 unintentional immersion deaths and other water-related injury deaths in Canada by the Canadian Red Cross found that immersion deaths were most likely to occur when swimming and wading. Children ages one to four, males, and people with seizure disorders or other medical conditions like autism are among those at a higher risk for drowning.
Pools are fun, but it's a great responsibility to keep all swimmers safe. The following are some pool safety measures to put into effect.
- Keep water sanitary. Make sure pool water is chemically balanced so that it is comfortable to swim in and will not harbor any pathogens that can make swimmers ill. The pool equipment company Pahlen says the ideal water pH is 7.4 because that is the same as the pH in human eyes and mucous membranes, and it also supports good chlorine disinfection. The free chlorine content of a pool can range from 0.5 to 1.6 to keep it sanitary. A quality testing kit can help pool owners balance water.
- Learn your local ordinances. Local ordinances will spell out which precautionary measures are required by law for people who have a backyard pool. These often include a fenced yard, a fence around inground pools that is at least four feet high, self-latching gates, and/or pool ladders that can be locked or closed when the pool isn't in use.
- Rely on non-slip surfaces. The pool environment can be wet and slippery. Utilizing materials like non-slip deck surfaces or rougher concrete finishes around pools can help reduce some slips and falls. The pool resource Poolonomics says people should be instructed to avoid running near or around the pool.
- Inspect water returns and drains. PoolSafety.gov warns that hair, limbs, jewelry, or bathing suits can get stuck in a drain or suction opening in a pool or spa. Broken or missing drain covers should be replaced immediately and no swimming should occur until the issue is remedied.
- Install other barriers. Barriers, alarms and pool covers can save lives and prevent access to pool water when the pool area is not in use.
- Learn how to swim and perform CPR. Families can take swimming lessons to become better swimmers. Learning how to perform CPR on adults and children can save lives. Courses are available at many hospitals and community centers or through the Red Cross.
Swimming pools are welcome additions to yards. Safety is vital when around water.