Shedding an Important Light on Pool Safety

A recent Boston Globe editorial sheds an important light on how to prevent pool drownings.

The editorial points out that many states already have strong pool safety laws. For example, Massachusetts and nine other states have laws requiring fencing around pools. Safety groups also recommend pool gates be self-closing, self-latching and equipped with an alarm. Angelo Puppolo Jr., a state representative from Springfield, has further proposed mandating motion-detecting pool alarms and other safety measures.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission calls these steps, “layers of protection” and it’s an important concept to think about incorporating into your backyard pool – regardless of whether you have children.

The Boston Globe editorial, however, points out pool safety goes beyond the “layers of protection” strategy. Here’s a startling statistic shared in the editorial: nine out of 10 children who drown are being supervised by a parent or caregiver at the time.

This means we need to rethink how we supervise children in the pool. Listening while a child plays in the pool may not be enough. Drowning children are struggling to breathe, unable to call for help. Rather than splash, children will sink to the bottom of the pool.

When with a group of adults, the Consumer Product Safety Commission recommends designating someone the “pool watcher.” But with more than one child, the more eyes the better.

Read the Boston Globe editorial, “Pool Safety: Eyes on Kids at All Times,” Aug. 4, 2010

Read another Boston Globe article, “Drownings Put Focus on Pool Safety,” Aug. 7, 2010
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