Concerns About Swimming Pool Safety –

I came across an article in Pool and Spa News that basically stated that there is too much emphasis on safety in the swimming pool.  You can check out the article by clicking on this link http://www.poolspanews.com.

I certainly see her point with this article.  There is a lot of information out there on how to stay safe in the pool.  There are also a lot of stories about tragic things happening in pools.  You will also see stories about the importance of teaching your children how to swim.  There are government web pages you can visit to get the latest information of swimming pool safety as well.  The point is that there is this enormous spotlight on swimming pool safety.  The argument is that with all of this attention on safety, it may result in a fear of pools.  It seems that with all of this attention on swimming pool safety it may make people feel as though swimming pools are dangerous.  However the truth is that with the proper precautions swimming pools can be a place of entertainment and relaxation.  I think that with all of this attention on swimming pool safety people are starting to overlook the fact that it it is just meant to be informative.  It is not a ploy to scare anyone.  It is just to make people aware.

I understand that there is a concern that people won’t want swimming pools if they think that they are dangerous.  I understand the need to inform people of the dangers associated with swimming pools.  However I think that it needs to be done in a way that won’t scare potential customers away.  On the other hand, perhaps a swimming pool is the type of thing that is enticing enough that the safety concerns are at the back of most peoples minds.  Perhaps this woman who wrote the article just happened to be talking with one of a few people that has an irrational fear of their pool.  Think about it in this light.  Alcohol is a dangerous drug.  There are known safety issues associated with drinking too much alcohol.  However people still buy it and drink it.  There are huge safety issues related to riding a motorcycle.  We hear about crashes every year.  We see bumper stickers raising awareness for motorcycle safety and yet more and more people are riding.

With all that in mind I think that there is room for both pool sales and safety concerns in the swimming pool industry.  I feel as though, if the safety concerns weren’t so widely publicized they would still exist.  I also think that people are buying pools regardless of the safety concerns.  In my humble opinion, I think that swimming pool safety awareness is an important part of owning a swimming pool.  I personally do not think that safety awareness will have an adverse effect on swimming pools sales.  The more knowledge that someone has about how to be safe in a pool, the less concerned they will be about it.  So this emphasis on swimming pool safety might actually help pool sales.

The benefit of a 12v Light over a standard 120v

Since 1990 there have been over 60 deaths by electrocution and over 50 serious electricity related injuries due to faulty wiring in and around swimming pools. You might be thinking why would anyone have electrical lines around their pool area. You must understand that the majority of swimming pools have underwater lights. These lights can go bad in a couple different ways and result in stray electricity entering your pool water.

A swimming pool is meant to be a happy place where people can relax and enjoy a hot summer day. It shouldn’t be a place where people are at risk of injury. Older pools are at greater risk of having an incident. The lights used in older pools were likely to have a full 120V going to them. Today many manufacturers are changing their lights to a low voltage to prevent this type of thing from happening, or at least offering this option to those with concerns. What is likely happening is that the lights are failing and in some case water can get inside the light. Obviously this is a huge concern, especially if that light had 120V going to it. There could be other possibilities as well. If there is lighting around the pool then you will want to make sure that it is properly wired and grounded.

There are a couple ways that you can help to ensure the safety of your swimmers.

1. Signs of mold or other growth on the inside of the lens are signs of water leakage.
2. Have an electrician inspect the underwater lights and make sure that junction boxes and wiring connections are installed correctly.
3. Be sure that the power switch and GFCI for underwater lights are properly marked and easy to get to in case of an emergency.

One thing that you can do to help prevent any unfortunate events related to electrical shock in your pool is to have low voltage lighting installed in the pool when it is built.  There are several manufacturers of low voltage lights for in ground swimming pools.  Granted one low voltage light will not be as bright as a standard 120v light but you can make up for that by simply adding additional lights to the pool.  In addition to that these low voltage lights typically have the same capabilities as the larger 120V lights that are out there.  For instance many 120v lights are capable of changing colors.  In many cases the same goes for low voltage lights as well.
The point of all this is to inform you that you have options when it comes to swimming pool lighting.  One option being a low voltage light for your pool.  This will greatly reduce the risk of electric shock in your swimming pool, as opposed to a 120v light that would be very dangerous if it were to fail.

Pool Safety Precautions Part 2

I want to stress the importance that I personally place on teaching your children how to swim.  I have written about this topic in the past and how it is not only beneficial for them for safety reasons but it also aids in cognitive development.  Please feel free to check out that post and others I have written in the past for more information.

Next, I want to introduce a concept that my parents held near and dear to them while I was growing up, and that is the buddy system.  Anytime my older brother and I wanted to do anything that involved a body of water, we had to do it together.  That meant no swimming alone, no fishing alone, and no collecting golf balls out of the water hazard at the local course alone.  We always had to do these things together or we would get into trouble with our parents.  At the time there were instances where I thought it was silly to have to do this, but looking back on it now I see that it was a really good idea.  I would urge anyone with a pool to make sure their kids adhere to the buddy system.

I also feel that another step can be made toward safety when it comes to swimming pools and children.  There must always be a responsible adult supervising when children are swimming.  This person should keep in mind that they are there for one reason, and should not allow themselves to be distracted.  This means that your 13 year old daughter who is constantly glued to her phone might not be best for this job.  In addition to that It is important for parents to learn CPR.  I think that learning CPR is a good idea regardless of if you have a pool or not.

When it comes to cell phones around the pool area, I feel that using them to get on Facebook, or whatever other social media site you like is counter productive.  As the supervisor, you need to remain focused.  However I think that having a phone nearby is a very good idea.  In fact I think that a phone is a very important part of what is known as a swimming pool safety kit. You can put anything you want in this kit but there are some things that you should definitely have in there.  Below is a short list of the must haves in your pool safety too kit.
1) A first aid kit
2) A pair of scissors – to cut hair, clothing, or a pool cover it needed.
3) A charged telephone  – to call 911 in the event of an emergency.
4) A floatation device – Foam noodles, water wings, and little inflatable rafts are not life saving devices – They are toys and do not replace the need for supervision by a responsible adult.

The last thing that I want to mention is something that not a lot of people are fond of but I think that it is important to bring up.  I know that a lot of people like to use their pool not only as a setting for family fun, but also for a place to invite their own friends to and have a few drinks.  I personally feel that this is something that is up to your own discretion but I want to reiterate the fact that water and alcohol do not mix well.  You could be the best swimmer in the neighborhood, or even a former high school swimming all star, but when you put alcohol into the equation, all of those skills you have, or once had are irrelevant.  We have all seen video of sobriety tests where drivers can’t even walk, or end up passing out on the pavement.  Well the good thing for them is that when they passed out they were still on dry land.  If that were to happen in a pool it would be another story.  A couple years ago I had a friend who was at the lake with some of our other friends and had been drinking.  He got the idea to swim out to a floating platform which under normal circumstances would have been no problem.  However since he had been drinking he never made it that far and the police pulled him out of the lake hours later.  I apologize for sharing that story, but I just wanted to illustrate the importance of separating alcohol and swimming.

For more information on swimming pool safety please check out my other blog post with “safety” in the title.  You can also find an abundance of information on vinyl liner in ground pools as well as general swimming pool information on my blog.

Pool Safety Precautions Part 1

Getting the most out of your pool requires that you take the right steps.  I think that one aspect of owning a pool that often gets overlooked is the safety side of things.  Pool ownership can be a wonderful experience if the proper precautions are taken into consideration.  It seems to me that many people overlook some of the basic steps that one could take toward a safer, fun filled summer.  If you have read my other posts, you will have noticed that a small hand full of them are specifically about how to stay safe around the swimming pool.  This includes everything from the proper chemicals to RWI’s, to steps you can take to ensure that people stay safe while swimming.  It has been a while since I have written about swimming pool safety.  For that reason, today I want to briefly touch on ways to ensure that your pool is safe.

Today, I want to start with the pool area itself.  I think that many people who decide to have an inground pool installed are those with children.  That being said, I think that as a parent they feel that their kids will not be swimming unless they are properly supervised.  Don’t get me wrong, that is a very good way to keep your children safe, but what about those what if scenarios.  You are busy with something, the pool is open, and kids are quick.  I am not trying to scare anyone here.  I just want to make sure people are aware that this is an area in which safety precautions can be made.
There are many entry points to the pool area.  In order to aid in keeping people out of the pool area, many people install a fence around the pool.  In fact, many places require that a fence be installed around the pool.  Regardless of if it is a requirement or not, it is always a good idea.  A fence acts as a barrier between your pool and those that may want to access it.  One thing to keep in mind when it comes to pool fences is gating.  To increase the security of the pool area, it is a good idea to have a gate the will automatically close itself and latch itself.  It should be at least four feet high and latch at the top.  This will make it difficult for little ones to open.  In addition to that the gate should open away from the pool area.  This means that if you are entering the pool area, the gate should open toward you.  It may seem kind of trivial, but in reality if a little one were to try and access the pool area, they would likely have to stand on something to reach the latch.  If the gate were to open toward them, they would soon find out that they are in the way of the gate opening.  Often times a pool is in close proximity to the house so most people will use the house as the forth side.  Basically just fencing in their backyard.  While this will work, the house will likely have entry points to the pool area that are fairly easy for someone inside to access.  For this reason, if you are intending on using the house itself as one of the barriers it is a good idea to install some kind of alarm system on the doors and windows leading to the pool area.  This would allow you to know if a door or window is being opened on the pool side of the house.  This is likely not a requirement, however it is a very good idea, especially if you have young ones in the house.
In addition to the fence, another very popular addition to a pool to increase safety is an automatic cover.  This will allow you to close the pool while it is not in use.  This, coupled with a fence would provide two barriers for someone to get by if they wanted to access the pool.  A nice feature of an automatic cover is that they usually require either a key, or a code to operate.  If you keep the key in a safe place and out of reach from small hands then you will increase the security of your pool.
There is another small, yet important thing that you can do to make your pool area a safer place.  If you have children and a pool, then you will likely have an abundance of swimming pool toys.  To help ensure the safety of your young ones, it is a good idea to simply pick up the pool toys and store them in a place where they are out of sight.  Many people purchase one of those plastic deck boxes for this purpose.  It is totally enclosed and provides a place that toys can be stored where they will not blow away and where they will be hidden from the kids.  Why does this matter?  Small children often have one track minds.  If they see something that they want the will try to get it.  I have seen this behavior with my own son when he wants my cell phone and then throws a fit when he can’t have it.  Let’s say that it is a nice summer evening and you have spent a fun day with the kids in the pool playing with the pool toys.  Now the pool fun is over and you are all inside yet you left the pool toys floating in the pool.  If one of you kids looks out the window and sees that toy they had fun playing with earlier, then they may be inclined to try and retrieve it.  It may seem like a long shot, but that is how the world works sometimes.  Having all the toys picked up and put away where they can’t be seen will help to eliminate that need to play with them again later on.  Remember with little ones, in most cases if it is out of sight, it is out of mind.
For more information on how to stay safe around the pool please check out my other posts.  Also keep checking for new posts on swimming pool safety, and as alway feel free to comment on this post and others I have written.

Too much emphasis on pool safety?

The question has been asked.  Is there too much emphasis on swimming pool safety?  I know that over the past few months I have written several posts about how to stay safe around the swimming pool.  In all my efforts to pass on information to my readers I never really stopped to ask myself if I am putting too much stress on staying safe.  Some people may feel that this “over emphasis” on swimming pool safety may be causing  to be overly worried about swimming in their pools, or buying pools in the first place.  Is this really the case though?

It is my personal opinion that there is no such thing as being overly cautious around a pool.  I think that any tips that people may not know are absolutely worth sharing.  The fact is that these tips I give are meant to help people, not scare them away.  I know that when it comes to my family and friends, I will do anything to ensure that they remain safe.  If part of that anything is researching ways to stay safe in the pool then so be it.  I don’t think that putting emphasis on safety is going to scare people away from getting a pool much like how “Shark Week” doesn’t scare people away from swimming in the ocean.  The fact that there is an inherent risk involved with swimming and that is the only reason there is so much emphasis on safety in the first place.  If anything what is going to scare people away from getting pools is all of this media attention on people getting shocked in their pools.
So why are people getting shocked and electrocuted in their pools.  I am willing to go out on a limb here and say that it could be due to the fact that they do not know that they should get their pool lights inspected each year.  Most people would also not even think twice about it, being under the impression that the lights are made for this purpose so they couldn’t possible cause harm.  Just this scenario alone is enough to make me think that there is not enough stress on swimming pool safety.  Unfortunately that is not where the issue stops.  Every year people experience unfortunate events around swimming pools.  This is an ongoing problem, and it is going to continue until people wise up.  The idea that too much emphasis on swimming pool safety is a bad thing is absurd.  That is like saying that we should stop crash testing cars because it makes people too afraid to buy them.  No, we should continue to crash test cars so that people know which cars are better suited in the event of an accident.  We need to apply that same mindset to the way we deal with swimming pools, and I feel that some have already started.  There are many companies out there that are trying to better our swimming pool experience through various safety measures.  We have companies that manufacture safety covers, we have companies that make low voltage lighting for swimming pools.  We even have local building codes requiring fences around swimming pools.  These are all steps toward the right direction.  It is very unlikely that everyone is just going to stop swimming because people like myself are trying to make their swimming pool experience safer and more enjoyable.  However, what is more likely to stop people from swimming is faulty equipment, not knowing what to do in certain situations, and the higher risk of something bad happening because they don’t know how to prevent it.  Don’t put too much stress on safety because it makes people afraid of swimming pools… Give me a break already.  That is like saying don’t put too much emphasis on stretching out before exercising because then people will be afraid to exercise.  What? Exactly.  It just doesn’t make much sense when you stop to think about it.
It is important for people to be safe around their pools.  Likewise people want to be safe around their pools.  People are researching the topic everyday.  Why?  Because people love their pools and want to swim in them, but they also want to make sure that they are safe while doing it.  The only thing that reducing the emphasis on safety will do is cause people to wonder what they can do to stay safe or cause people to stop being as safe.  In any situation it is important to get the facts ahead of time.  That is the only way to make an educated decision about something.  I would venture to say that people, especially in today’s tech savvy world, are already researching the pros and cons of owning a swimming pool before they buy one.
On the other hand, perhaps it’s not the message that is over emphasized, but the way in which that message is delivered that needs to be altered a bit.  After inserting the pictures on this page I realized that many of them seem to use statistical data as a scare tactic.  That is what may need to change.  However I would be interested to get some feedback from my readers as to where they stand on this issue.  Do you think that there is too much emphasis on swimming pool safety?  Do you think that the emphasis on safety is having a negative effect on swimming pool sales?  Seriously let me know what you think.  There are no wrong answers.  I have just expressed my opinion on the matter, and now I would like to read yours.

Swimming Pool Safety Tips

Swimming pool safety is probably the single most important part about owning a pool.  After all, the fun of owning a pool goes away if it is not safe.  Even though I consider my pool safe I am always on alert when I have people over.  Especially if those people include kids.  I have written several posts about how to be physically safe in the pool.  The fact is that I have probably covered most precautions that can be taken to remain safe in the pool.  Today I am going write a post to refresh the memories of those who have already read my previous posts on this subject.  If this is your first time reading one of these posts then pay close attention, the information within is especially valuable if you have children.

To start I want to discuss the things that you can do to help ensure the safety of those using your pool.


Electrical

  Being that there have been a few instances this year already of people being shocked in their pools, or community pools I want to stress the fact that you should have the electrical components of your pool inspected each year.  If you see that the light in the pool has water inside of it or even if it has algae starting to grow then that is a sign that there is a leak in the light.  A leaky light can be a dangerous thing.  Today more and more builders are using low voltage lighting in the new pools that they install, however years ago all the lights installed in pools were the standard 120v.

Bad Idea!!!

Another thing to watch out for is people using electrical devices too close to the pool.  I understand that having a radio playing while people are enjoying the pool is a very nice luxury, however just make sure that it is either running on batteries or that it is at least five feet away from the water at all times.  Obviously water and electricity do not mix so do your best to not get an unfortunate reminder.

Overhead wires are another concern of mine.  Not that they are going to suddenly fall into the pool or anything, but there is a degree of danger that is associated with them.  Think about what you do in regard to pool maintenance.  I know that a lot of people will vacuum their pools at least once a week.  Keeping that in mind, what things do you need to vacuum your pool.  Does a long aluminum extension pole come to mind?  This is where the concern lies.  When someone is vacuuming a pool they are focused on the bottom of the pool and not necessarily what is above their heads.  Aluminum conducts electricity quite well and one slight touch of the pole to an overhead wire could very well be a horrible mistake.  Just be cautious please.

Fence

Having a fence around your pool goes a long way in keeping people safe.  Many states require a fence around the pool.  Some will allow you to have either a fence or an automatic pool cover.  Check your local building codes to determine what is needed at your pool.  If you do end up getting a fence around your pool there are a few things that you should keep in mind.  One is that the fence should be at least 4 feet tall.  I would personally go a little taller on it but that is ultimately up to you.  Another thing that you should be aware of is that the gate to access the pool area should open away from the pool, and have some kind of automatic latching mechanism on it at the top so that it cannot be left open.  You may be wondering why it matters that the gate opens away from the pool.  Think of it this way, if the latch to open the gate is at the top then a little person attempting to gain access to the pool area would have to get a chair or something to stand on in order to reach it.  More than likely they will place it right in front of the gate.  If they do get it unlatched, making sure it opens toward them would add an even bigger challenge and likely force them to give up.  Does that make sense?  If the chair they are standing on is in the way of the gate opening then they will be more likely to give up trying to gain access.  You could even go as far as installing an alarm system on your gate, or having motion activated lights in the pool area to deter anyone from trying to sneak in at night.

Automatic Pool Cover

This is an added bonus to the safety of your pool.  In case you are not aware, there are covers available that allow you to open and close your pool at the touch of a button, or the turn of a key.  Typically this is something that would have to be installed as the pool is being built, but if you have one then you are a step ahead in the pool safety game.  These covers will usually come with either a code activated key pad or an actual key that you will have to turn and hold to uncover and cover the pool.  Obviously if you don’t have the key or don’t have the code then gaining access to the pool will be much more difficult.  These are not always required but they definitely add to the safety of the pool area.

Clean up the pool area

This is more for if you have smaller children in the house.  The theory behind this is that if a lot of pool toys are left scattered around the pool after “pool time” is over then small children might see them and be tempted to enter the pool area to retrieve a toy that they remember having fun with earlier.  If you as the adult were to remove the pool toys from the pool area, or store them in a deck side container of some sort then you will have effectively removed the temptation to enter the pool area later on.  Along with this idea is the notion to have an ordinary looking chlorine feeder in the pool rather than one that looks like a dolphin or alligator or whatever.  Cute little alligator or dolphin chlorine feeders in the pool may look like toys to smaller children and possibly give them that temptation to enter the pool area again.

Have an undistracted, responsible adult supervise children in the pool

The key words in this are “undistracted”, “responsible”, and “adult”.  This does not mean teenager, with ear buds, and a Facebook friendly smart phone.  The supervising adult should be alert and capable of reacting quickly.  Great grandma and her life alert pendant might not be the best supervisor for the swimming pool.  Ideally the supervisor should be an adult and have the understanding that they are there to watch the swimmers.  They should be unconnected from the internet and have no other distractions while they are supervising.  Although being tuned into your smart phone while supervising is a bad idea, actually having a phone nearby is a very good idea.  In case an emergency were to occur you would be able to call 911 without having to leave the area.

Make a Pool Safety Tool Kit to keep near the pool

You can put anything you want in this kit but there are some things that you should definitely have in there.  Below is a short list of the must haves in your pool safety too kit.
1) A first aid kit
2) A pair of scissors – to cut hair, clothing, or a pool cover it needed.
3) A charged telephone  – to call 911 in the event of an emergency.
4) A floatation device – Foam noodles, water wings, and little inflatable rafts are not life saving devices – They are toys and do not replace the need for supervision by a responsible adult.

There are many other ways to ensure the safety of those using your pool.  For more information regarding pool safety please check out my other blog posts with “Safety” in the title.  You can also check out http://www.poolsafely.gov/ This website will give you the most up to date information available on how to remain safe in the pool.  You can also find more general and specific information on vinyl liner in ground pools by checking out my other posts.

 

Recreational Water Illnesses in Public Pools

Information in this post pertaining to the study done by NACCHO and Accu-Tab Chlorination System was obtained at http://www.poolspanews.com.  The information regarding RWI’s was obtained at http://www.cdc.gov

In the past few months I have written several posts pertaining to why a vinyl liner in ground swimming pool is best, and what should be considered when thinking about purchasing an in ground swimming pool.  Today I am going to approach it from a different angle to give my argument more validity through another perspective.

A lot of families will take their kids to public pools or water parks throughout the summer.  I have discussed this in another post and written about how having a pool of your own instead of making trips to the public pool will save you time, money and the headache of loading up the kids and driving across town to a crowded public pool.  That is basically where I left it.  I felt that was enough information to get people to consider getting their own pools.  However there is another thing I think you should know about public swimming pools.  What I am about to tell you may help you make the decision to get your own pool.  What I really want you to take away from this is to at least consider not going to the public pool for health reasons.

This post pertains to RWI’s, otherwise know as Recreational Water Illnesses.  These can be the result of not properly maintaining the chemical levels in a pool.  A recent study by Accu-Tab Chlorination System and the National Association of City and County Health Officials or (NACCHO) revealed how Many public pools are out of compliance in regard to their chemical levels in their pools.  NACCHO represents 2800 health departments across the country.  They polled their inspectors on their protocols and experiences in examining recreational water facilities.  The results were very interesting to say the least.

-75% reported a commercial pool that was shut down by their agency within the last two years.

Reasons why these pools were shut down.

-90% said that it was due to low sanitation levels.

-61% said that it was due to the pH being unbalanced.

-53% said that it was a result of cloudy water.

The study also revealed that apartment complexes are one of the biggest offenders.  54% of those inspectors reported that two out of three apartment complex inspections revealed violations.

I know that in my town we used to have a water park that my friends and I would go to when we were younger and it was shut down as well.  You have to think about the amount of traffic that these places see everyday, especially if it is a particularly hot summer day.  Imagine the amount of children in the pool that don’t want to take the time to walk to the restroom fearing that they might miss something fun while they are gone.  Think about the personal hygiene of others that may frequent the same pool as you.  There are no guarantees that everyone in the pool had showered prior to entering the pool, and there are no guarantees that the children or even some of the adults in the pool have enough respect for others to actually get out of the pool to take a restroom break.  These are things that contribute to the problem with RWI’s.  Now you might be curious as to what RWI’s are exactly right? Well this next tidbit comes out of a previous post of mine titled  “Swimming Pool Safety – Recreational Water Illnesses”.

What are R.W.I’s?

Basically, these are illnesses caused by germs and chemicals that are found in the water we swim in.  Some might say that the water they swim in is perfectly safe, because they treat it properly and keep it well maintained.  The number one chemical used to keep swimming pools clean is chlorine.  However, there are some germs present today that are very chlorine tolerant.  In fact, it may take anywhere from a couple minutes to a couple days to kill them.  This is more true if the chlorine levels in a pool are off.  Basically, if there is not enough chlorine to go around then some of these germs may remain.  Obviously germs are small, and it would only take a small amount to make you sick.

How are R.W.I’s spread?
R.W.I.’s are spread by swallowing contaminated water, breathing in the mist from a fountain or other water fixture, or by simply coming into contact with water that is contaminated by these germs.  They are not just found in private swimming pools either.  They can be present in public pools, water parks, water play areas (splash parks),  fountains, rivers, lakes, streams, and even the ocean.  In addition to all that, they can also be caused by chemicals in the water or from chemical evaporation if your pool is indoors.

What kind of problems do they cause?
They can produce a variety of infections, including gastrointestinal, skin, eye, ear, respiratory, neurological, and wound infections.  However diarrhea is the most commonly reported problem.  Cryptosporidium  has become the number one cause of pool related diarrheal illness.  “Crypto” has the ability to stay alive for days on end, even in a well maintained pool.  That is not to say that keeping a well maintained pool is futile.  Although “Crypto” is chlorine tolerant, most germs are not.  So keeping a well maintained pool is the first step toward fighting R.W.I.’s.

How does Cryptosoridium get into the pool?

That is a very good question, unfortunately the answer is not what you want to hear.  Cryptosoridium and other germs enter your pool through feces.  I’m not saying that someone has defecated in the pool, however on average people have about .14 grams of feces on their under carriage. When they get into the pool some of that is rinsed off and enters the pool.  If someone in the pool is already ill with diarrhea their feces can contain millions of germs.  That means that it could only take one person to effectively contaminate and entire pool.  If you have a pool, or even if you just like to swim, then you have probably experienced the almost inevitable instance when you accidentally swallow a mouthful of water.  Even a small amount of contaminated water can make you sick.

What about other R.W.I. germs, how do they get into the water?
A lot of the other R.W.I.’s, such as skin, eye, ear, respiratory, and wound infections, are caused by germs that naturally live in environments, like dirt and water.  If proper disinfectant levels are not maintained in the pool, then these germs can multiply and have the potential to cause illness.  This is why it is important to keep your pool well maintained with the proper amount of chlorine.

So if you are planning a trip to the public pool or splash park please be aware of the risks.  If you have been on the fence about getting an in ground swimming pool of your own I hope this posts gives you the incentive to go for it.  Please keep in mind that at a public pool you are not in control of how the water there is maintained.  At your own pool you will be the one to ensure your family’s safety by keeping the water clean and safe.

For more information regarding the study done by NACCHO and Accu-Tab Chlorination System and RWI’s please visit the links at the top of this page.

Pool Safety – Electricity

Information in this blog post was found at www.cpsc.gov

Today I am going to gear this post toward pool safety. Not in the sense that you are probably think but rather I want to touch on the risk of electric shock in swimming pools. Since 1990 there have been over 60 deaths by electrocution and over 50 serious electricity related injuries due to faulty wiring in and around swimming pools. You might be thinking why would anyone have electrical lines around their pool area. You must understand that the majority of swimming pools have underwater lights. These lights can go bad in a couple different ways and result in stray electricity entering your pool water. In addition to lights many residential pools these days have automatic covers installed on them. This is another example of why there would be electricity near the pool. These covers need power to operate. Another possibility is that a homeowner may have power outlets around the pool for various reasons. Regardless of why there is power around the pool there should be no reason why people should be receiving electric shocks while swimming in their pool. A swimming pool is meant to be a happy place where people can relax and enjoy a hot summer day. It shouldn’t be a place where people are at risk of injury. Older pools are at greater risk of having an incident. The lights used in older pools were likely to have a full 120V going to them. Today many manufacturers are changing their light to a low voltage to prevent this type of thing from happening. What is likely happening is that the lights are failing and in some case water can get inside the light. Obviously this is a huge concern, especially if that light had 120V going to it. There could be other possibilities as well. If there is lighting around the pool then you will want to make sure that it is properly wired and grounded. Overhead wires can pose a threat as well. In some cases people have gotten shocked while cleaning their pools. When you are using a 16′ aluminum pole with a net or vacuum on the end of it you will want to be aware of where you are in relation to any overhead wires. The aluminum pole is a very good conductor of electricity and if it even lightly touches an overhead wire you could receive a shock. So how else can you take precautions agains electric shock in your swimming pool? Below is a list of things that you could do to help prevent and incident.

Electrical Cords:
1. Do not use and electrical cord that is damaged or repaired with tape.
2. Keep electrical cords, wires, and products out of reach and at least five feet away from the water.
3. Use portable GFI’s where permanently installed GFCI-protected outlets are not available. (These are the type of outlet that commonly has test and reset buttons on them. if there is a electrical surge they will pop and disrupt the current before it can do any damage.)
4. If an electrical product falls into the water, unplug it before retrieving it. Even submersible pumps which are design to operate under water may not be safe to use while someone is in the water.

Overhead Power lines:

1. Do not set up a storable pool or install a permanent pool within 25 feet of overhead power lines
2. While cleaning your pool keep long handled tools and poles away from overhead power lines including the ones going to your house.
3. hold long handled tools as low to the ground as possible.

Underwater Lights:
1. Signs of mold or other growth on the inside of the lens are signs of water leakage.
2. Have an electrician inspect the underwater lights and make sure that junction boxes and wiring connections are installed correctly.
3. Be sure that the power switch and GFCI for underwater lights are properly marked and easy to get to in case of an emergency.

General:
1. Know where all the electrical switches and circuit breakers are for the pool equipment, and light, and make sure you know how to shut them off in case of an emergency.
2. Know where all emergency equipment is located and how to use it.
3. Learn CPR and rescue breathing procedures.
4. Use battery operated products around the pool whenever possible – never set a plugged in radio near the pool.

For more information regarding swimming pool safety please visit www.poolsafely.gov or check out my other blog posts with safety in the title.

2014 Swimming Pool Safety Topics

The information in this post can also be found at www.poolsafely.gov Well Folks it is upon us.  Pool season is making it’s appearance.  Typically people shoot for Memorial day to get their pools open for the season but it has already started.  People are opening their pools and getting things around for the summer.  Builders have already broken ground this year and started putting pools in.  It’s just a matter of time before backyards everywhere are full of kids playing, and swimming and adults cooking out and enjoying peaceful nights by the pool.  For those who have had a pool for a number of years already, they may have fallen into a routine of sorts.  It is not hard to do though.  Many of us are subject to routine.  We wake up, go to work, come home, eat dinner, go to sleep , and do it all over again the next day. This type of thing happens with swimming pool owners on a yearly basis.  They open their pools, add chemicals, swim for the summer, and close the pool again in the fall.  Most people pay little attention to the safety side of things.  Swimming pool safety is something that I am very adamant about I have written several blog posts on this topic and many have of them have similar content.  As I write them I realize that I am repeating myself but the fact is that it’s like anything else.  With repetition comes memory, the more you do something the more you will remember about it.  So this post will more than likely be similar to my others on the topic of pool safety.  If you think of your pool in terms of power you will begin to realize that having a swimming pool does in fact give you some level of power.  Your kids might want to have a pool party, your neighbors may want to have a weekend cookouts at your place instead of another neighbors.  Your friends may ask to use your pool when you go out of town.  When this happens and it usually will, you suddenly have the power to determine if and when these things will happen, who will be there, how long the event will be, who brings what, and so on.  Just like Uncle Ben told Peter Parker, “with great power comes great responsibility” you as the pool owner should take steps in making sure that whoever comes to your cook outs, pool parties, or casual swim days are as safe as they can be.  I just want to touch on some things that you can do to help insure the safety of your swimming pool guests.

One thing that you can do is install a fence around your pool.  This is a good idea even if you have an automatic pool cover that requires a key or code to open the pool.  By installing a 4′ tall fence around the pool you will effectively deter anyone who wants to swim in your pool without your say so.  In addition to the fence you should also install the gate so that it opens away from the pool.  By doing that it will make it more difficult for those clever little kids to gain access to your pool area.  If the gate swings open away from the pool a clever little kid that grabs a chair to reach the gate latch will soon realize that they have put the chair they are standing on in the way of the gate.  You might think that this wouldn’t work but in reality anything you can do to prevent uninvited entry into your pool area will be beneficial to the safety of your pool.

Another thing that can be done is to install an alarm system in the pool area to notify you if someone enters without your say so.  These come in several different styles.  You can install alarm triggers on your gates, doors, and windows, or there are alarm systems that sense motion, in the pool.  There are even alarms that can be attached to the wrist of a child.  Again anything you can do to add to the safety of your pool will benefit everyone.

As far as just basic steps to take there are several.  First remember that alcohol and water don’t mix.  I understand that back yard cook outs often times involve alcohol but again use your best judgement and know your limits.  If children are swimming in the pool it is a good idea to designate an adult to watch them.  I don’t mean listen to them though an open window, I mean actually watch them.  The designated adult should be free from distractions like social media, texts, or t.v.  I realize that all of those things can now be done on your phone but it is important to not be distracted by such things when acting as life guard.  This brings me to my next point.  Take the time to learn CPR and get certified.  It doesn’t take that much time or effort to learn and knowing it would add to the overall safety of your pool.  Another thing that takes only a second is to have a phone somewhere near the pool.  You can take a portable phone outside or your cell phone.  You do not want this to be a distraction but you do want it there just in case you need to make an emergency phone call.  In an emergency situation time is valuable.  You don’t want to have to leave the area to get a phone to make the call.  There are some products available to purchase that will also add to the level of safety of your pool.  A shepard’s hook is a device that attaches to a pole and extends your reach.  A safety buoy or “life saver” is a circular floatation device with a rope that can be thrown to anyone who may be struggling in the water.  Life jackets are also a good idea for younger kids or those who can’t swim.  Things like boogie boards, foam noodles, and even water wings should not be confused with safety devices.  They are toys that are not designed for safety.  A major tip if you have children is teach them at an early age how to swim.  It not only increases the safety level, but it has been directly related to cognitive development.

These are just a few steps that you as the pool owner can take in an effort to increase the safety level of your swimming pool.  Remember its never too late to increase safety and you still have time to do so before this swimming pool season.

For more information on swimming pool safety check out my other blogs posts with similar titles or go to www.poolsafely.gov

 

Are Swimming Pools Safe?


Information in this post can be found at www.poolsafely.gov
Are swimming pools safe?  This is a question that is on the minds of many parents around the country.  When it comes to children, you can never be too careful.  It is our jobs as parents to make sure that our little bundles of joy remain safe and happy.  So, it is normal to be a little apprehensive when it comes to swimming pools, especially if it is a situation where they will be going to a friend’ s house to swim.  Obviously, there is a potential hazard in any activity with water involved.  However, the pool itself is not to blame for accidents that may occur.  The pool has no intentions of doing anything other than just being a large puddle of water.  The question is, are your children in a position to remain safe at a pool?  This question can be answered by asking a few follow up questions.  Who will be supervising my kids?  Are they responsible?  Will the adults be drinking?  (This may seem like an unnecessary question, but think about how many weekend pool parties/ cookouts where there is alcohol present.)  Do the adults know CPR?  Do they have safety equipment readily available?  How many people will be there?  These are all valid questions and if there is any doubt to any of these questions then maybe allowing your children to go is not in their best interests.

I am a new father, and maybe I am just too protective of my son, but I am at a point where I will become visually upset if something should happen to him that could have easily been prevented.  I just don’t like seeing him upset.  When we took him to get some shots for the first time, I was not very happy.  I understand that it is what’s best for him, but man, that scream he let out was the worst sound that I have ever heard.  You had better believe that if he is ever invited to a pool party that is not at my house when he is older, I will be asking every single one of these questions, and probably a full background check of the parents.  Well, maybe not to that extent, but I will have definitely have to meet them first.  In any event, if I am not sure of something he will not be going or I will be accompanying him.  I have been around swimming pools my entire life and I understand first hand the importance of knowing how to swim.  When I was young my family was on vacation and at a hotel with a pool.  I knew how to swim a little, but when I accidentally jumped into the deep end of the pool and couldn’t touch the bottom I started to panic and inhaled a bunch of water, followed by another huge breath of water.  Luckily, there was a
man nearby who saw me struggling and pulled me from the water.  I think that experience is why I am so concerned about my own sons well being.

The first thing I will do is teach him how to swim.  I think that is a very important skill to have, and I am always shocked when I come across an adult who can’t swim.  When the time comes that my son wants to go swimming, he will be supervised by a responsible adult who understands that until my son is back on solid ground, their only job is to keep an eye on him.
That means that my son will not be watched by some teenager playing with their iPhone, and he will not be watched by an adult who has spent the afternoon drinking beer with their neighbors.  While it is not a good idea for the one supervising to be on their phone looking at Facebook or Twitter or any other social media site, it is important that a phone be close by in case of an emergency.  That way they can call for help without having to leave the pool area.  I would ask how many people will be there simply, because if there will be a lot of kids in attendance then it becomes more difficult for the supervisor to keep a close eye on everyone.  That is why larger public pool typically have several life guards.

 

It is also important to have safety equipment readily available.  These items include things like a Shepard’s hook, flotation device that can be thrown and retrieved, and life jackets.

That last one there is really important to me.  Young children should always wear a life jacket in the pool.  They are designed for safety, and to keep people’s heads above water.  Things like those foam noodles, or “boogie boards” as we call them, or even “water wings” are not adequate for safety.  Life jackets are the way to go.  I place a lot of importance on knowing CPR, especially if you have children.  I also want to point out that seeing CPR done on T.V. or in a movie is not adequate.  Take the time to take a class and get certified.  There are major differences in the way CPR is administered between a small child and an adult.  Stay up to date on your certification too.

So are swimming pools safe?  I think that with the proper amount of precaution and education, enjoying a swimming pool is a perfect way to spend a summer afternoon.  Swimming pools are not dangerous unless we let them be.  The danger comes with not being prepared to properly use and enjoy the pool.  If you have a pool make sure you also have safety equipment available, keep a phone nearby, stay alert and focused, know CPR, and teach your children how to swim.  This post is not intended to scare anyone.  I just wanted to inform people that there are additional precautions that can be taken to reduce the risk involved with swimming pools.  I love swimming, I have been around pools my entire life, and my son will be too.  I will take the proper preemptive actions to keep him safe and I would suggest that you do the same for your loved ones.  I want everyone to have a very enjoyable summer (if it ever gets here).  Swimming pools make memories, and bring families together so enjoy them and as always be safe.

For more information regarding pool safety please visit http://www.poolsafely.gov/