10 Commandments for Aquatic Safety in Swimming Pools
By: Attorney, Anne P. McHugh
More children die of aquatic injuries every year than any other form of traumatic injury. Injuries around water are generally devastating. At Pellettieri, Rabstein and Altman, we’ve handled many cases of aquatic injuries, which could have been avoided with proper preventative measures in place.
Think SAFETY FIRST around any private or public swimming pool. There is no substitute for an attentive adult seeing to the safety of a child or guest. In addition, here are ten basic tips for water safety to aid in a safe and fun filled summer for your family and pool guests:
1. Insist on life vests for non-swimmers: Anyone who cannot swim or stand safely in your pool should wear one or use a certified inflatable device.
2. No diving off the edge: Most pools have no depth markings, identifying when you are in the deep end. That transition slope is hard to see and can cause a broken neck if one hits his/her head on it.
3. No diving in any aboveground swimming pool: Be sure there are adequate warnings to advise your family and guests that this is a NO DIVING POOL and they risk serious neck injury if they dive.
4. Never go down any waterslide headfirst: Water levels at the tip of the flume often fall due to dehydration and lack of attentiveness on those charged with insuring that the water back flows into the slide, to slow your body down. If the water drops too low, you risk severe injury because the pools are shallow to accommodate all ages, sizes and shapes.
5. Install proper safety fencing: Most children who drown in a pool are neighbors, not your children. Contact your township to be sure the fencing around your pool complies with codes and ordinances.
6. Install alarms and motion detectors: Check with your town for existing ordinances governing these devices that keep unwary parents alert to wandering children. For aboveground pools, make sure the ladder can be lifted up to prevent unsupervised entry.
7. Remove private waterslides from your pool: With so many more broken necks associated with waterslides, the Consumer Products Safety Commission engaged in a massive study to warn the public of their hazards. Remove slides from your pool immediately.
8. No diving boards on residential pools: Young athletic swimmers can easily strike the transition slope when diving off a board in a residential pool. Removing it will prevent injury.
9. Use Pool Lights for Night Swimming: Install them if you don’t have them.
10. Know the Water’s Terrain: Teach your children to always dive shallow and to steer up as they enter any body of water and to NEVER dive if they do not know the depth or the terrain underneath.
We’ve represented many people, winning millions of dollars in these types of cases. But no award will recover the lives lost or the pain the families suffer in cases of permanent disability or loss of a loved one. Be Safe.
For more information, please contact Anne P. McHugh, at AMcHugh@pralaw.com or(609)520-0900.
About the Author
Ms. McHugh specializes in general litigation and personal injury cases; she has represented hundreds of children and adults suffering broken necks and other severe aquatic related injuries.
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