In 2002, a little girl died before her mother’s eyes in a horrible and preventable accident. Virginia Graeme Baker died as a result of what is called “suction entrapment” in a family friend’s hot tub, held to the bottom by 700 pounds of suction from a drain. Fifteen years later, after a fair bit of resistance, the public pools – such as those at hotels and resort, water parks, and community pools, are compliant with the code, as are most new-construction pools public or private.
But What about Your Florida Pool?
The one you’ve had for years, or the one you got with the house, or the hot tub on the deck? Even that whirlpool tub in the master bath could be an accident waiting to happen.
You’ve never had an accident, and that’s a blessing.
However, if you have not upgraded your swimming pool or hot tub, you could be inviting disaster. Since the Virginia Graeme Baker act was enacted, there have been no suction entrapment drownings of children in public pools. Private pools are another matter. Private swimming pools and spas are regulated by the states, and requirements vary from state to state, and even from county to county. However there are steps that you can take to ensure that your Florida pool, spa, hot tub, or whirlpool tub can be enjoyed by all ages for years to come.
- Install a fence completely around your pool, with a self-closing and self-latching gate.
- Designate a responsible adult to supervise whenever children are using the pool or spa.
- Talk to swimming pool professional about how to upgrade your safety measures to include anti-entrapment drain covers, a safety vacuum release system, and an emergency shut off for the pool pump.
- Install a safety pool cover that is easy to deploy when the pool is not in use.
- You may not think that knowing CPR would be a necessity for safely owning a pool, but someone should be prepared for any eventuality. It could be a child or an adult that needs your help, and you could end up saving a life.
- Do not allow anyone to ingest alcohol and go swimming. Alcohol use is involved in 70 percent of accidental drowning deaths among adults and adolescents.
Finally, the biggest safety rule for swimming pools is to never swim alone. Even a healthy adult can get into trouble the water. Make sure that everyone understands that they should never use the pool by themselves, and the children always have to have permission of the adults in the house and their supervision. Don’t be afraid to lay down the law, you could be saving a life.
Your local independent insurance agent can help you to make sure that you and your family will have years of enjoyment with your swimming pool. Talk to them about your homeowners insurance policy today. They can help you find lots of ways to make your home safer, help you save money, and stop problems before they start.