Children under 15 make up 78 percent of pool and spa submersion injuries in the United States, according to the Department of State’s Division of Consumer Protection.
Hoping to limit the number of injuries this summer, the department offered some safety tips that can make summer a little safer for kids in St. Lawrence County.
• Learn to swim - Everyone should have the opportunity to learn to swim properly, as this is the very best defense against preventing accidental drowning of children and adults alike.
• Do not leave a child unattended - Never leave a child unattended around a swimming pool or any other body of water, even if that child is a good swimmer.
• Lifeguard on Duty - If you are swimming in a public pool make sure there is a lifeguard on duty at all times.
• No diving - Although enjoyable, diving can be dangerous. Only dive into pools that are considered “diving pools” or that have a designated deep “diving area.” Most backyard swimming pools are not deep enough to allow for safe diving.
• Avoid alcohol - Alcohol slows reaction time and affects balance and judgment, so avoid drinking alcohol if you are going to be swimming.
• Collect all toys - It is important to be cognizant of what toys and floats you leave in and around the pool, as well as any climbing device that can be used to access the water. Some may attract and avail young children to the water.
• Plan for emergencies - Have an emergency plan that includes CPR training. Learn how to turn off the pool or spa pump should a suction entrapment occur, and where to immediately find rescue equipment, including a long-handled hook or a buoy or flotation device with an attached line. Have a phone with you, whenever possible, so if there is an emergency you can quickly dial 911.
• Code compliance - At a minimum, your pool or spa must comply, with all applicable federal, state, and local laws, ordinances, rules, and regulations. In most cases, a pool or spa, or the area where it is located, must be completely surrounded by an intact fence or barrier at least 48 inches high; gates must be self-closing and self-latching; one or more pool alarms, door alarms and/or gate alarms may be required; and the pool or spa must have anti-entrapment drain covers that are compliant with the Pool and Spa Safety Act, the State Uniform Code, the New York City Building Code, and any applicable local law, ordinance, rule or regulation.
For additional information about compliance with the State Uniform Code, please see “Swimming Pool Rules and Regulations found in the Uniform Fire Prevention and Building Code (Uniform Code)” at http://www.dos.ny.gov/DCEA/pools.htm and “Current Requirements for Swimming Pools Contained in the Uniform Fire Prevention and Building Code (Uniform Code)” at http://www.dos.ny.gov/DCEA/currpoolreq.htm.
Further information can be obtained by contacting the NYS Department of State’s Division of Consumer Protection and Division of Codes at www.dos.ny.gov.