Earlier this year, a three year old girl was in critical condition after almost drowning in a home swimming pool in west Omaha. Reports indicated that she was likely under water for up to two minutes before being pulled from the pool, administered CPR, and taken to Children’s Hospital & Medical Center down the road.
While incidents like these may seem rare or unlikely to happen to you, the CDC estimates that about 10 people die from unintentional drowning every day, making it the fifth leading cause of unintentional death in the country. Of those deaths, 20% are children under the age of 14, and for every child who dies, five more receive emergency medical treatment for non-fatal injuries.
Although pools are a great source of entertainment, exercise, and even relaxation, they also come with a number of risks. If you own a pool or visit one frequently with your children, it is important to keep in mind some of these safety tips in the event of an emergency or to prevent one from happening altogether.
As the case above shows, knowing and administering CPR can be the difference between life and death in an emergency situation. There is no doubt that the young girl is alive today because those around her acted quickly. Just a few days after the incident in Nebraska, a young boy in California named Alex Pierce was not as fortunate and died in a pool accident because CPR was not administered by life guards at the scene. Learning CPR as a pool owner or goer can buy those precious few moments of time before professional help arrives.
Install Pool Barriers
Did you know that half of the children who drown in a pool each year do so within 25 yards of a parent, adult, or supervisor? Even if you are nearby your child, a momentary lapse in attention can have disastrous consequences. Especially if you have young children who can wander off on their own, it’s recommended that you install a four to five foot fence around the pool area. In certain instances, insurance companies will not provide insurance if this is not done properly. Another alternative is a pool alarm which can sound whenever someone enters the water.
Did you also know that up to 6,500 adolescents are brought to the hospital each year because of diving related accidents and injuries? Although diving can be a source of fun and entertainment, if not done properly, serious harm can result. Especially in the shallow end of the pool, head first dives can lead to brain and spinal cord injury. Set rules or make sure that all pool occupants are properly trained on how and where diving is appropriate.
Swim Clear of Drains
Even if a child has taken swimming lessons and is comfortable in the water, pool drains can create enormous suction which can trap someone under water via hair, a body part, or an article of clothing. Although these types of accidents are fairly uncommon today, it was estimated that there were 74 reports of circulation entrapments in 2007 which mainly impacted children ages 5 to 9. In response to this issue, in 2008 the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act was passed, providing new regulations for drain covers, after a child was trapped by 700lbs of suction pressure and killed, even as her mother tried to pull her free. In addition to warning your children to stay away from pool drains, even if there is an appropriate cover, it’s important to know the location of the pool pump so it can be shut off in case of emergency.
Although most pool related accidents happen with peak use in the summer, pool safety is a year round endeavor. To learn more about steps you can take to maximize the safety around your pool, visit poolsafely.gov for more information and tips. And if you or a loved one has been injured due to unsafe pool or drain conditions in Omaha, contact our office today to discuss the details of your potential claim.