As a father, and now grandfather of 3 children under 6 years old, personal injury attorney, Gary takes public swimming pool safety very seriously. His concerns about all kinds of safety issues have been raised by virtue of his representation of individuals and their families who been the victims of tragedies. He takes every issue personally and is tremendously affected by the suffering of others. That is why he decided to start publishing and emphasizing safety tips.

Swimming Pool Tragedy

We are now summer and public swimming pools are opening. While these can be a source of great pleasure for our children, they can also be a cause of great tragedy. Gary represented the family of a 14-year-old boy who was found at the bottom of a crowded public swimming pool. He died a few hours later without regaining consciousness. The pool had the required number of lifeguards but neither the lifeguards nor anyone else at the pool remembered seeing the boy until they found him at the bottom of the pool.

The parents were obviously devastated, not only by the death of their son, but the uncertainty of how this happened. Gary hired a swimming pool expert to help him figure out what had happened. They determined that this was a tragedy that could have been avoided. The lifeguard chairs were not high enough. This meant two things. Lifeguards sitting in low chairs will have their vision blocked by other people in the pool. Second, on a sunny day, the sun will reflect off the water and block the vision of the lifeguard from seeing down into the water. A high lifeguard chair will prevent either of these things from happening.

Safety Tips to Protect Your Family and Children

  1. Never leave a child unattended near or in the water. Be sure that you always keep an eye on them. Another thing you can also do would be to designate a Water Watcher, which is an adult that is tasked to keep an eye on the children in the water. Now, of course, most public pools will have lifeguards on duty, however, adults should still take responsibility regardless and keep an eye on their kids. 

  2. Teach your kids how to swim. This is one of the easiest ways to ensure that they are protected in the water. Many free options are available at a local YMCA, USA Swimming chapters, or Parks and Recreations Departments. 

  3. Teach children to stay away from the drains. Drains in a spa or pool can be incredibly powerful. Be sure that your children know not to play near any drains or suction outlets within the pool itself. And always be sure that you never enter a pool or spa that has a loose, broken, or missing drain cover. 

  4. Be 100% positive that any pool or spa, whether public or private, have compliant drain covers. A young girl by the name of Virginia Graeme Baker died from drowning due to a faulty drain cover that allowed the drain to keep her trapped in the water. Therefore, all pools and spas must have drain gates or covers that meet specific safety standards to avoid another incident like the one that took Virginia’s life. 

  5. Install all the proper barriers, covers, and alarms around your pool and spa. The proper barriers and alarms can be a huge lifesaver. A fence should at least be four feet in height and completely surround your pool or spa, and it shouldn’t be able to be climbed. The pool or spa should only be accessible through a self-closing, self-latching gate. Install a door alarm from the house to the pool area, and keep the pool or spa covers in working order. 

  6. Be sure that you know how to perform CPR on children and adults. Often, bystanders are the first to aid a drowning victim. Learning how to perform CPR can help save someone’s life. Once you are CPR certified, make sure to keep your certification up to date. CPR classes are available through hospitals, community centers, or by getting in touch with the American Red Cross.