Guest post by Vania Silva
According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), 350 children under the age of five drown in swimming-pool related accidents each year. In addition, 2,600 children are treated in hospital emergency rooms for near-drowning incidents. While drowning is still the number one pool safety issue, several incidents have also brought attention to another potential risk – electrical shock while swimming.
The chilling fact is that in many of these cases, the parents were seemingly powerless to prevent the accident from happening. But that doesn’t have to be the case with all electrical hazards, especially when the pool resides in your backyard. If you own a pool, you can significantly lower the risk of an electrical accident by exercising common sense, following safety guidelines, and ensuring your pool is up to current safety standards.
Individuals can take the following precautions:
Never leave children and intoxicated adults unsupervised. There should always be a “designated watcher” to protect anyone with questionable judgment from pool accidents. If you don’t think seconds matter, watch this chilling footage of children receiving an electric shock in a pool after a pump malfunctioned in Florida. A watchful adult can also help spot signs of an electrified pool, such as twitching or unresponsive swimmers.
Upgrade the pool lighting. Older pool lights pose a greater risk of electrical accidents. You canupgrade from 120V lights to 12V pool lights that run through a pool light transformer.
Have the pool inspected. Have all electrical components inspected. If the pool is under construction, you need to apply for a permit. If you moved into a house where you don’t know the existing pool’s history, get an immediate inspection.
Keep Cords and Electrical Devices Away. This one may be obvious, but the longer you have your pool, the more likely you are to be confident and accidentally do something stupid. In particular, watch out for extension cords and other power cords that may be damaged.
Look for signs of damaged equipment. Keep an eye out for pool lights that are flickering or performing erratically. If the electrical seems to going haywire, you need to shut down the electricity until the problem is resolved.
Have a plan for when your pool becomes electrified. When someone is getting shocked in a pool, the normal reaction is to panic. Because it’s almost impossible to think clearly in such situations, you should have a plan in place ahead of time so you can do the right thing without thinking. Your plan should include turning off the power, having people exit the pool without touching metal fixtures, and calling an ambulance.
Keep these facts and additional tips in mind this summer and educate your children before you let them go swimming. Even though the risks of drowning and electrocution make pools unsafe, taking the correct measures will help reduce these chances significantly, ensuring everyone has a safe and fun summer break.
Written by Vania Silva. Vania is a freelancer, full-time mom and safety advocate.