Brian White | July 12, 2023 | Summer Safety
If there is one outdoor fixture that is synonymous with hot summer days and good times, it is the family’s backyard pool.
But as relaxing and as fun as these fixtures are, they pose a significant risk of drowning accidents to children and adults alike. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, drowning accidents claim the lives of approximately 4,000 people every year.
Pool Safety Methods and Technology Starts with Supervision
At its core, keeping children and intoxicated adults from drowning and near-drowning accidents requires supervision of the waters. A sober and capable adult who watches the pool can quickly intervene and save a drowning victim before it is too late. In many cases, though, it is impractical for pool owners to hire an on-call lifeguard.
As a result, pool owners have turned to other devices and methods to control access to their pools and prevent drownings.
Floatation devices like rafts and life vests can help prevent drownings but must be readily available to be useful. Gates and fences may delay or prevent unauthorized individuals from gaining access to the pool, but these can be circumvented and offer no help once an unauthorized child or adult gets into the pool area.
Pool Alarms as a Preventive Tool
In addition to these tools and methods, pool alarms, which have been around for at least 30 years, may help prevent child drownings. There are three types of alarms:
- Surface Alarms: Detect waves on the surface of the pool
- Underwater Alarms: Detect waves under the surface of the water
- Wristbands: Are worn by a child and emit an alarm when exposed to water
Studies from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission have suggested that underwater pool alarms are the most consistent and correct at alerting when a child falls into the pool and give off fewer false alarms.
These studies are quick to point out, though, that pool alarms of any type are not the only tool pool owners should use to keep children from accidentally drowning.
Limitations of Pool Alarms
As helpful as pool alarms are, there are several reasons why they should not be relied on as the sole method of pool safety. First, every pool alarm is capable of giving off a false alarm. A wristband alarm exposed to any water at all can give off an alarm. These false alarms can lull adults into complacency, thus reducing the alarm’s effectiveness.
Secondly, some alarms’ tolerances may cause them not to give off an alert at all. For example, suppose that you purchase an underwater alarm for your pool because you have a young child. The alarm may fail if a very young child falls into the pool and does not produce enough underwater waves for the sensor to detect.
Pool Alarms Work Best When Used in Conjunction with Other Tools and Methods
If you are concerned about pool safety and considering using a pool alarm of any type, it is crucial that this alarm be just one tool of several that you employ. Other methods of restricting access to the pool, such as building a fence and using a pool cover when the pool is not in use, can all help reduce the likelihood of accidental child drowning.
Additionally, make sure that children are always supervised by a sober adult who is capable of rescuing the children in the event of an emergency. Finally, consider enrolling your child in swim lessons when they are young to help them build skills and confidence for when they are in the water.
Contact a Houston Personal Injury Lawyer to Help You With Your Claim
If your child suffered injuries due to someone else’s negligence, our premises liability lawyers can help. For more information, contact the Houston personal injury law firm of Attorney Brian White Personal Injury Lawyers by calling (713) 500-5000
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