Poolside injuries range from minor bruising all the way to death. Slipping on wet surfaces and diving in to shallow water are two common ways people can get injured. About 16,000 people under the age of 16 are hospitalized every year because of diving accidents. Alone these accidents can cause severe spinal cord damage. Also, children under the age of 14 represent the largest category of drowning deaths. It may come as a surprise that most of these accidents occur under adult supervision and in residential pools instead of natural bodies of water. In 2007 accidents related to entrapment and evisceration in pool drains encouraged the passing of the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act which requires specific drain covers to prevent and minimize the risk in public swimming pools and spas.
Since aquatic-related accidents occur frequently under adult supervision, the public needs to become more aware of precautions that are necessary to take in order to reduce these dangers. Some of the safety guidelines that have been recommended are pool owners have a four sided fence surrounding their pool, a motorized pool cover that has the ability to support the weight of an individual who accidentally steps in that direction, an alarm that sounds when a person has entered the water and a multi-layered system that activates an alarm when doors surrounding the pool have been opened. These suggestions along with better educated swimmers and supervisors will greatly reduce poolside accidents. For more information regarding pool safety and tips, visit www.poolsafely.gov or www.cdc.gov.