Swimming pools offer Carlsbad families the opportunity to beat the summer heat and cool down in a fun way. However, swimming pools can also be very dangerous for young children. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2005, more than one in four fatal drowning victims in the U.S. were children under the age of 14. The state of California has the second highest number of private swimming pools in the nation, and sadly, also has a high number of drowning deaths every year. In 2009, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) reported 424 drowning deaths in the state.
Almost all swimming pool drowning deaths can be prevented if homeowners throughout the state take “reasonable precautions” to protect their family and guests from harm. California’s Swimming Pool Safety Act states a newly built pool or a pool in the process of remodeling must be equipped with at least one of the following seven drowning safety features:
- A pool shall be isolated from a home by an enclosure that meets state requirements
- A pool shall incorporate approved removable mesh pool fencing with a self-closing, self-latching gate
- A pool shall be equipped with an approved pool safety cover
- A residence shall be equipped with alarms on all doors providing direct access to a pool
- All doors providing direct access from the home to the pool shall be equipped with a self-closing, self-latching device placed no lower than 54 inches above the floor
- A pool shall be equipped with an alarm that will sound off upon accidental or unauthorized entrance into the water
- Other type of safety feature that meets the American for Testing and Materials or American Society of Mechanical Engineers specifications.
The CDPH believes that in addition to safety barriers, adult supervision is essential to preventing a tragic drowning. Children should never be left alone in a swimming pool or wading pool, even for just a few seconds. It only takes a few inches of water and a few seconds for a child to become a victim. During large parties or gatherings when adults can be easily distracted, a “Water Watcher” should be assigned to monitor children in the pool. Parents and caretakers should also get into the habit of keeping doors and gated closed even when a pool is being used, and get into the habit of keeping rescue equipment (safety ring, wireless phone, long pole) close by. Using more than one safety method decreases the likelihood of a child from becoming a swimming pool drowning victim.
If you would like additional information on pool safety and how to prevent a child drowning death, visit the California Department of Public Health and City of Carlsbad websites. If your child has been the victim of a pool drowning and you would like to know if legal action could be taken, do not hesitate to contact a Carlsbad personal injury attorney as soon as possible.