Swimming Pool Safety
The lack of swimming pool safety kills children!
The Medical Research Council of South Africa reported a total of 3000 deaths by drowning over the past five years.
Netcare 911 Operations reports 75% of all drownings in South Africa are children under the age of five.
The World Health Organisation backs this up in a special report.
Pool safety must be taken seriously!
Pool Safety Tips
Fit a safety cover from a reputable supplier. This should include ponds and water fountains.
Check the cover fasteners regularly.
Replace worn fasteners.
Urge family and friends with pools, ponds and water features to do the same. (Your child may visit there.)
Check the weight tolerance of the safety cover, e.g. the Power Plastics Pool Covers Solid Safety Cover bears the weight of two adults and a child.
In the event of a drowning start CPR until emergency services arrive. You will be saving a life; waiting can be fatal.
Ensure that every adult in the home knows CPR, including domestic workers. Never hire a babysitter or au pair who can’t swim.
Thermal pool covers and leaf nets are not a safe barrier for children.
Toys left in or near a pool are temptations to children. Remove them!
Teach your child
Teach your child what to do if they see another child in trouble.
- They should call for help.
- They should not try to help themselves – it puts them at risk.
Never leave a child unattended near a pool.
If you are pregnant, get your safety pool cover now. Prepare well in advance.
Teach your child to swim fully clothed and with shoes on.
Choose a swimming coach wisely. Trust your gut instinct if you are not comfortable.
If your child develops a fear of water, do not ignore. A child that panics is at greater risk.
If your child is ill or on sedative medication, do not allow it to swim.
Never allow swimming after dark.
If your child has suddenly gone quiet or wandered off, check the pool first. Even a minute can make the difference between survival, irreversible brain damage or death.
Be a role model. Children tend to copy adults. Do not clown about in the pool or undertake risky behaviour.
Forbid walking or playing on the pool cover. Fit a sensor beam if this rule is broken.
Do not let pool levels drop. Keeping the pool topped up allows for small arms to easily grab the edge if needed.
Never underestimate the scope of peer pressure when it comes to risk-taking. If you see other children being excessively foolish in the pool, chat to the parent.
Discourage your dogs from swimming. Children and pets in a pool are not a good mix.
Teach your child how to retrieve objects from the bottom of the pool. This will build water confidence and teach breathing techniques.
Even if you don’t have children, it is still necessary to consider pool safety for visitors. Families living in residential complexes with a communal pool should insist that their body corporate install a pool cover.
Safety devices include
- A mesh barrier fence,
- Self-closing and self-latching gate.
- Alarms systems for doors, windows and for in and around the pool are available.
- Certified safety covers, life rings and shepherd’s hooks.
The legal implications of owning a swimming pool
New South African legislation will place more responsibility on swimming pool owners, in line with international law.
Building insurance policies have to types of cover:
- Damage to structure
- Legal liability for damage or injury to guests or trespassers
South African Law of Delict makes the owner liable for a drowning. In terms of civil liability laws, a claim can be charged against an owner for damages resulting from drowning.
Regulations exist regarding private pool (including sectional title pools) safety. Only the owners and invited guests may use them.