Most children love swimming and will play in the water with friends and neighbors whenever they get the chance. Parents of young children may enforce rules for swimming, such as requiring the children to wear life jackets or swim only when supervised.
Rules like these can be important steps to help prevent a child from accidentally drowning while in the pool. However, it may also be advantageous for parents to pay close attention to the pools that their children are swimming in because there can be hidden risks if the pool itself is poorly maintained.
Three risks of poorly maintained pools
A poorly maintained pool can present health and safety risks to swimmers. Three possible risks of swimming in a poorly maintained pool include:
- The suction of a pool drain holding someone underwater
- Electrical components shocking someone
- Unclean water spreading illnesses or exposing swimmers to harmful byproducts
How to manage pool risks
In your family’s pool, replace missing, loose or damaged drain covers as soon as you discover them. It can also be a good idea to make sure you know how to shut off the pool pump in an emergency.
Make sure pool lights, pumps and heaters are maintained by a professional and replaced when necessary. You can also help minimize the risk of electrical shock by keeping other electrical devices, such as fans and radios, far enough away from the pool area that they will not get wet.
You can maintain water cleanliness by asking swimmers to rinse off before entering the pool and avoid peeing or pooping in the water. Dirt, sweat, and pee can produce disinfection by-products when mixed with chlorine, and these by-products can irritate eyes and respiratory tracts. Poop and other contaminants in the water can spread sickness between swimmers.
Other pools can have risks too
You have control over how well you maintain your family's pool. However, your children may also swim when they visit friends, play with neighbor kids or attend pool parties, and there is no guarantee that others maintain their pools as meticulously as you maintain yours.
If your child is injured while swimming in someone else’s pool, it may be appropriate to seek justice. If someone’s negligent pool maintenance caused your child’s injury, you may be able to receive compensation for your child’s medical expenses and other costs related to the injuries.