This May, celebrate Water Safety Month!
National Water Safety Month is an annual awareness campaign organized by The Association of Pool & Spa Professionals in coordination with the National Recreation & Parks Association, the American Red Cross, and the World Waterpark Association.
As the sun emerges and the weather starts to warm up this May, adults and children alike will flock to home pools and spas, public swimming pools, waterparks, and resorts. To ensure that these activities are safe and enjoyable for all, take this month to refresh on familiar safety tips and learn some new ones.
Tips for Practicing Water Safety
Here are some helpful tips courtesy of Pool Safely, another organization heavily involved in Water Safety Month:
- Teach children swimming skills and water safety as early as possible
- Never leave a child unattended in a pool or spa, even with flotation devices
- Appoint a designated watcher to monitor children during social gatherings near water
- Have a poolside telephone nearby for easy access during emergencies
- Review safety information with family, friends, and babysitters
- Learn how to perform CPR and basic first aid
- Store poolside first aid equipment
- Install the appropriate equipment for your pool
- Install a fence around the pool at least 4 feet high
- Use self-closing and self-latching gates
- Install lockable safety covers
- Install pool, gate, and window alarms
- Make sure your pool has compliant drain covers
- Consider installing an underwater alarm
- Keep children away from pool drains, pipes, and other openings to avoid entrapments
- Don’t leave toys and other objects that might attract a child near the pool
- If a child is missing, look for him/her in the pool first
By reviewing these tips, you and your family will be ready to Pool Safely, a term coined by the organization that means, “?to adopt critical water safety steps to ensure that a great afternoon at the pool doesn’t turn into a tragic one.”
Pool Safely is a national public education campaign aims to reduce childhood drownings, submersion injuries, and entrapments. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission started the campaign to spark a national conversation about pool safety, thereby providing a platform to share best practices and other life-saving information.
Throughout the month of May, Pool Safely will be hosting and promoting events across the U.S. to celebrate Water Safety Month. The organization’s “Simple Steps Save Lives” Program is also one of many resources utilized by National Water Safety Month to not only spread awareness and share information, but to also save lives.
According to the Center for Disease Control, drowning is a leading cause of death for children ages 1 to 4, and it is the fifth leading cause of unintential injury death for all ages.
For every child younger than 15 yeras old who dies from drowning in a swimming pool, another 10 children receive emergency department care for nonfatal submersion injuries.
Nonfatal drowning can cause long-term brain damage, resulting in memory loss, learning diabilities, and/or permanent loss of basic functions.
As a parent or guardian you have the responsibility to keep your children safe around pools, but there is additional responsibility that comes with being a pool owner. Whether the pool is public or private, owners can be held liable for negligence if they do not maintain a safe swimming pool.
Michigan Swimming Pool Owner Laws
Many injuries occur at public pools such as hotel swimming pools, public water parks, and municipal swimming pools.
An injury could occur due to poor maintenance of the pool, such as a slippery pool floor. Poor maintenance could also cause “muddied” water, which would make it difficult to detect a person struggling beneath the surface.
Proper maintenance also includes the following:
- Appropriate lighting
- An emergency phone
- Safety equipment in close proximity
- Lifeguards on duty
- Restricted access to the pool when appropriate
- Pool depth properly marked
- Separated swimming lines
The absence of any or all of these conditions could be considered negligence.
Private owners are also required to uphold certain standards in the state of Michigan.
Owners are required to install a fence around the pool, and it is recommended that they use isolation fencing with self-latching gates. The pool deck must be properly maintained at all times so as to not cause injury.
Private owners are also encouraged to install motion detectors and to utilize effective pool covers as a way to prevent children from gaining unsupervised access to the pool. It is essential that children are supervised at all times while in or near a swimming pool.
If you or a loved one are injured because the public or private pool owner was negligent, you may be able to file a civil lawsuit. Most often, swimming pool accident lawsuits involve the failure to properly supervise the victim, failure to have a proper fence around the pool, and failure to maintain the pool and/or deck.