Drowning Prevention Tips
Education must play a key part in the prevention of
injuries from diving and water accidents that can result in drowning or near drowning.
Newspapers, radio and TV stations should be encouraged to run public service announcements
to inform the public of the risks of diving and other causes of drowning and near-drowning
In addition to education, there are certain devices,
some of which require further study, and some of which are known to be helpful that can
reduce the likelihood of aquatic accidents:
1. Phone near pool. Either a portable phone
or an extension phone near the pool is important for at least two reasons: a) if a person
receives a phone call or must make one, it is easier to supervise the pool area with a
phone right there; b) if there is an emergency and help must be summoned, there will not
be a long delaying going to the phone in another part of the house. CPR can be started
immediately. Possibly, phone companies could do some public service advertising in this
2. Pool covers. A properly designed pool
cover can be helpful. However, sometimes a child will go under the pool cover and be
harder to locate, therefore, the cover must be designed to prevent that. There he is a new
ASTM standard on covers.
3. Pool alarms. Seemingly, a pool alarm which
could provide warning of a child going into a pool would help. However, it appears that an
effective alarm has not yet been developed. The CPSC has commissioned a study of how to
make an effective alarm.
4. Fences and barriers A proper barrier can
be very helpful. However, a study is needed of what constitutes an effective barrier
without being so hard to use the people purposely avoid it. There also is study needed to
determine which types of fences are effective to prevent climbing.
5. Pool perimeter fencing. In addition to the
normal fencing and barriers, there are a number of companies in the country that now
provide pool perimeter fencing. This is a very simple and quick fence that goes around the
perimeter of the pool, which will deter young children at least long enough that a short
lapse in parental supervision or other supervision will not be fatal. Unfortunately, the
average pool consumer is not aware of such fencing and the fact that it can save lives.
Perimeter fencing has been available for over two
decades in the above- ground pool industry. Yet, none of the consumers that buy the pools
and use these pools, especially those with young children, are made aware of such
perimeter fencing. The use of perimeter fencing with above ground pools likewise can save
many lives and prevent many near drownings.
6. House doors. Most injuries occur when the
child goes out of the house unknown. This often happens because a door is left open -- or
is opened. Very often, this is a sliding door. There is a need for further consideration
of safety devices in this area.
7. Miscellaneous devices. Exposed ladders
into a pool, pipes and filters, decks, etc., can make it easier to enter the pool. Ladder
covers have been developed and certain design features are possible to minimize risks on
The FAIP has for sometime been advocating
educational prevention programs as mandatory to all pool packages. Specifically, FAIP
believes that a videotape should be shown to any prospective pool purchaser including
segments on near drowning as well as diving accidents, to expose the potential consumer
and users to the hazards of a pool. The video should then be sold with pool packages and
all purchasers should be instructed to show it to all users before using the pool.
8. Clarity of water. In some accidents, pool
water is so cloudy that the drowning victim is not readily seen. Perhaps a device could be
developed which could automatically release chemicals to clean the water.
9. CPR training. Once there has been a near
drowning, the skill of a rescuer in CPR (Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation) is crucial in
minimizing the damage. Anything which encourages or requires CPR skills for anyone owning
a pool would be helpful. Encouraging CPR for a pool purchaser is could help save lives.
10. The Four Rules. Teach your children these
four key swimming rules:
- Always swim with a buddy.
- Don't dive into unknown bodies of water. Jump feet
first to avoid hitting your head on a shallow bottom.
- Don't push or jump on others.
- Be prepared for an emergency.
Reporting Defective Products
The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) also
has its own prevention programs, but their effectiveness depends access to current aquatic
injury information involving consumer products, such as pool covers, pool alarms, etc.
Consequently, people who have sustained serious aquatic injuries are asked to contact the
CPSC and provide detailed information about their accidents. This information will be used
to develop nationwide prevention and product safety programs.
To report an aquatic injury or death involving
consumer products, you can complete our Consumer Product
Injury Report and we will forward the data
to the CPSC. You can also write or call the CPSC at:
The Consumer Products Safety Commission
NEISS Injury Clearinghouse
Washington, DC 20207
Responsible Legal Action
Most of the aquatic diving injuries, drownings and
near-drownings that occur each year could have been prevented. Equipment manufacturers
and property owners are, or should be, aware of measures to prevent such serious injuries.
However, many have not taken the steps required to promote safety devices or post warnings
to prevent serious accidents from occurring. Often, the most effective preventative
measures have resulted from litigation. Through responsible litigation, victims are
forcing these parties to make the changes that prevent similar accidents and injuries.
Legal action cannot reverse the injuries sustained in an accident, but it can open doors
to a better life and help prevent others from becoming future victims.
Foundation for Aquatic Injury Prevention
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