Staying safe around swimming pools and spas

Though summer is winding down, Tennessee’s temperate climate means that many of us still have several more weeks to take advantage of private or public pools to cool off. For many families, the ease of operation of soft-sided above-ground pools has made backyard swimming more accessible than ever before.

The fun and relaxation that comes with swimming or having a pool is generally a positive thing, but there are many hazards associated with swimming pools, all of which could result in serious injuries or even wrongful death.

Keeping children safe

The Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) reports that about 300 children drown annually. Water-related “submersion injury” accidents in pools and spas send an additional 3,200 or more kids to emergency rooms.

Some of these drowning deaths occur in otherwise preventable accidents in pools, hot tubs or Jacuzzis. If you own or are visiting a location with any of these, supervision of children is vital. It only takes a few inches of water for a child to drown.

If you are at a private residence with a pool, ensure that it has fencing around it, there are alarms to notify you if the pool enclosure is opened, and there is always a sober adult responsible for keeping an eye on the kids.

Public pools

Public pools in Tennessee, including those at hotels, water parks, gyms, community centers and for-profit organizations, are regularly inspected by agents from your local Health Department to ensure that:

  • Cleaning chemicals and bacteria levels are within safe range
  • Drain grating and guards are in place (to prevent accidental suction-related injuries, as required by the federal Pool and Spa Safety Act)
  • Ladders and pool exits are operational and easily accessible
  • There are accessible lifesaving devices nearby
  • Associated spas are kept at a moderate temperature to avoid scalding
  • Adequate signage is present indicating depth markers and warning about not diving into shallow water
  • The pool itself is in good repair (no broken tiles or uneven concrete, etc.)

Of course, the fact that the Health Department is supposed to do this doesn’t automatically ensure that it does. And tragically, sometimes swimming pool accidents occur despite our best efforts to keep ourselves and our loved ones safe.

That’s why it’s good to remain vigilant, even when enjoying summer by relaxing around the water.

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