by Rob Cox, December 21, 2009
POOL SAFETY: Footprints on the Web
Who are the major players in swimming pool safety on the internet? Which websites create the most influence, drive the most support for education and legislation for the safe use of swimming pools?
Swimming pools can be dangerous, especially to small children. In an average year, over 300 young children drown in swimming pools and spas, and over 2000 emergency room visits occur for near drownings. Diving accidents have been said to put more young men in wheelchairs than motorcycles. Garnering a lot of attention lately with the year old Virginia Graeme Baker Act have been entrapment injuries, where unsafe pool and spa drain fittings have trapped swimmers with their powerful suction.
Government and Advocacy Groups have taken the largest role in helping to reduce swimming pool accidents, drownings and near drownings. Some of the more influential pool safety websites are outlined below.
The Consumer Product Safety Commision has nearly 1000 search results on the topic of swimming pools, on their website CPSC.gov. Covering all topics of safety, the CPSC helps industries create safer products by cataloging incidents and injuries. You'll find safety information on just about every pool product imaginable, even those you many have considered to be completely safe. A sister website of the CPSC is poolsafety.gov, an easy to use, more consumer friendly portal for pool safety information and resources. Join their email list to receive updates related to the safety of swimming pool products.
The Pool Safety Council (PSC) is a Washington, D.C.-based non-profit advocacy group dedicated to overall pool safety and, specifically, the prevention of child drowning nationwide. PSC boasts a diverse group of supports of more than one hundred pool safety experts and organizations, pool owners and operators, families of individuals impacted by pool-related injuries and leaders from the pool and equipment industries. Their website can be visited at PoolSafetyCouncil.org.
ABCpoolsafety.org has dedicated itself to keeping children safe around pools. The information contained in ABCpoolsafety.org has been compiled through a collaborative effort of fire departments, cities, counties and other drowning prevention organizations. I like that their home page stresses that Drowning is Silent. The ABC's of drowning prevention include 1. Adult Supervision 2. Barriers 3. Classes. A fairly simple recipe for swimming pool safety.
A resource for parents, with topics on all things kid, KeepKidsHealthy.com has a searchable knowledgebase of articles related to pool safety. Billing themselves as a "Pediatrician's Guide to your children's health and safety", these folks have put a lot of work into building a far reaching parenting resource. Searchable by age, or by topic, the editors have put together an exhaustive library of swimming pool safety information.
SafeKidsUSA.org has safety information on all types of water, not just pools. Boating, Beach and Bathtub safety in addition to pool and spa safety. Another Advocacy group located in Washington D.C., SafeKidsUSA promotes aquatic safety with several programs, including their popular "Kids Don't Float" and SafeKids "Water Watcher" programs. With fun activities for kids to learn about pool safety, SafeKidsUSA programs are easily implemented into school and organization education efforts.
The Association of Pool & Spa Professionals, APSP.org, has always has safety as a driving focus and a way to serve their members. The largest association of pool and spa industry folks, APSP has developed many safety programs aimed at educating members with safe installation and design standards. The popular Gus & Goldie program, aimed at school age children, provides member chapters with a fun way to bring pool safety information to schools and civic organizations.
A new site from APSP, called Splash Zone, is a fun, interactive website specifically for children to learn about pool safety. Also available are brochures, coloring books and other media to get the word out on pool safety.
There are many other Swimming Pool Safety Advocacy groups not listed above, doing great work to keep our swimming pools safer, and accident free. With so much information, and so many necessary safety products such as pool covers, pool fencing, pool alarms, etc - a pool drowning is a senseless, preventable tragedy. If you are a pool owner, please read up, shut the gate, and remember that drowning is fast and silent. Watch your kids, your neighbor's kids, and keep your pool safe!
~ here's a few more notable players on the internet, sharing their passion and expertise to help prevent pool drownings: