Once the weather is warm enough in many areas of the United States and especially in the Southern California region, many kids will want to play around in the apartment swimming pool. Who would not want to spend a day out by the pool on a nice hot day? Well those days are coming very soon!
While everybody is focusing on residential swimming pools or even the beach, we do not hear enough about pool safety at apartment swimming pools including HOA community pools. In fact, it seems that pool safety is often overlooked. At most one will find that apartment managers or management companies do nothing more than to post the required signage to include “No Lifeguard on Duty”. There is no outreach to tenants to discuss ways to safeguard children and guests at the swimming pool. Everyone is left to fend for themselves.
Many aquatic professionals know that apartment managers and management companies are extremely uneducated on the subject of pool safety and drowning prevention. This needs to change as a result of the numerous drownings that occur and are documented via news articles.
Here are some links to stories of drownings occurring at apartment swimming pools over the years:
The above articles are just a few examples of drownings at apartment swimming pools and we must add that there are many more that do not get reported by the media.
Apartment swimming pools usually never have a lifeguard on duty or a pool monitor. All one has to do is to drive around the neighborhood and notice how many apartment complexes there are with swimming pools. Some complexes are state-of-the-art (new construction) while many are simply run down. While it is impossible for apartment complexes to have a lifeguard or a pool monitor on duty, the responsibility falls on those who live there. In most cases, the drownings are a result of lack of supervision and in some cases just plain negligence.
The big question is what can be done to prevent needless drownings at apartment swimming pools? There needs to be an aggressive public relations initiative that aims to get lifesaving information into the hands of apartment managers (English/Spanish) and management companies. From there that information should be distributed to each tenant and then have them acknowledge receipt of that information. Another solution is to have an in-person presentation made to educate the tenants by local aquatic professionals or by local fire department personnel familiar with this subject.
The next best thing is to encourage tenants to get certified in CPR especially if they have children. Early CPR in a drowning incident could improve patient outcome but is dependent on those who have taken the time to get certified. Time is of the essence as death can occur anywhere from 4 to 6 minutes without intervention.
The best way to ensure that drownings are prevented at apartment swimming pools is as follows:
- Direct adult supervision – This means that there should be an adult or guardian within reach of the kids at play. This means no distractions such as a cell phones or conversations that take your eyes off the kids. Never allow older brothers or sisters to take on the responsibility of watching their younger siblings or each other.
- PFD’s (personal floatation device) should be worn by kids that do not know how to swim to prevent accidental drowning. Please keep in mind that PFD’s should never take the place of swimming lessons and used as a crutch.
- Make sure that pool fences are locked and secured to prevent kids from entering the pool area without an adult. Make sure that you keep tabs on your children as they can be quick and sneaky.
We would honestly love to see more focus on prevention at apartment swimming pools however there are challenges such as demographics and even language barriers. Only time will tell but we are encouraging apartment managers and management companies to get on board as we are sure the last thing they need is a drowning death at any of their pools.