Pool Dangers as Summer Approaches

CDC Finds Serious Injuries Caused by Pool Chemicals

Does your family look forward to relaxing in the swimming pool once summer weather arrives? Most people are very aware of the dangers of drowning, but a recent article in Medical News Today suggests that there may be another danger surrounding pools-pool chemicals. In fact, certain pool chemicals have been responsible for a high number of personal injuries.

A study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) examined data gathered by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission’s National Electronic Surveillance System (NEISS) to deduce the number of serious injuries caused by pool chemicals over the last decade. According to the CDC’s analysis, no fatal injuries resulted from swimming pool chemicals, but upwards of 5,000 emergency room visits each year occur because of pool chemical injuries.

What are pool chemical injuries? The CDC study explained that most pool chemical injuries involve poisoning or are the effect of inhaling vapors, fumes, or gases. More than half of the victims between 2003-2012 were under the age of 18. In addition, more than 33 percent of all pool chemical injuries occur at the home of the victim. What does this mean for prevention?

Simply avoiding swimming soon after a chemical dose is not enough to prevent injuries. Indeed, a number of patients identified in the CDC study sustained injuries while simply handling pool chemicals without wearing protective gear. In addition, many child injuries resulted from kids jumping into the pool shortly after chemicals were added. Many pool owners fail to properly monitor the chemical balances in their swimming pools, and homeowners can often add too many chemicals.

It is important to keep in mind the following pool safety tips:

  • Get training in pool chemical safety
  • Read the label on your pool chemicals and abide by the product label directions
  • Keep kids away from pool chemicals
  • Wear protective clothing or equipment
  • Only handle pool chemicals in an area that is well ventilated
  • Use precise measurements
  • If you are not positive about the proper use of your pool chemicals, ask for help

Preventing Swimming Pool Injuries

How can you prevent injuries in the swimming pool this summer? First, it is important to know that pool chemical injuries are only one type of serious injury that can occur around the pool. According to the CDC, drowning is a very serious issue. In fact, approximately ten people die each day from a drowning accident, and about 20 percent of those victims are children under the age of 15. Indeed, the CDC identifies drowning as the fifth-leading cause of unintentional or accidental injury death in the country.

In order to keep your children safe when they are poolside, consider the following general safety tips from the CDC about staying safe in the water:

  • Constant Supervision: always ensure that children are supervised whenever they are in or around the pool. Keep in mind that accidents and injuries in the water can occur quickly and without warning, and it is important to closely monitor young people.
  • Buddy system: always employ the “buddy system” and stay out of the pool when you are alone or without a lifeguard nearby.
  • Swimming ability: for people who can’t swim—children in particular—the pool can be a dangerous place. Make sure children have proper swimming lessons and have an understanding of water safety.
  • Pool fencing: keep your pool fenced in with a barrier that is at least four-feet high to prevent children from accessing the water without proper supervision.
  • Keep the deck clear: avoid keeping toys and floats around the pool that might attract neighborhood children or might lead to a dangerous slip and fall accident.
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