When we consider common dangers in the swimming pool, we instantly think about the potential of drowning or injuring ourselves. While this is correct, there are also hidden swimming pool dangers that you may not have thought of before. We have listed the top most common swimming pool dangers and best practices to avoid any issues.
The risk of drowning in a swimming pool is likely the first thing you think of when considering the dangers of a swimming pool. Being aware of potential drowning hazards is the first step in avoiding incidents, and taking action to minimise risk is the best approach to keeping everybody safe around your pool.
Adequate fencing around your pool is not only a necessary step to avoid drowning but also a legal obligation of pool owners in Australia.
You must register and fence your pool then have it examined by a safety inspector who will provide you with a safety certificate. Ensuring that you have an appropriate fence around your pool is one of the most important steps you can take in keeping people and animals safe around the water. Find out more about the ways pool barriers can be effective in reducing the number of drownings.
A pool cover will keep debris and tiny critters out of the water but pose a potential drowning. Pets and small children can easily mistake a pool cover for a sturdy surface. However, pool covers are not strong enough to hold their weight. If they fall in, there is a high potential of struggle and drowning. Again, adequate fencing will help prevent anyone from accidentally walking over a pool cover.
Floaties are often mistaken as safety devices that will prevent a child from drowning. While floaties may assist in keeping a child afloat, they should never be used as a safety device, and children should always be supervised. In addition, keep small children at arm’s length even when they have floaties on.
Pool noodles and other photo session devices should also not be used as a safety device and never relied on to keep a child safe from drowning.
Supervising children in the water is a big responsibility and should never be taken lightly. Unfortunately, whether a parent is supervising children in the family pool or a pool party is happening, there is always an abundance of distractions. From texting to reading, and even conversations with other adults, it is easy to become distracted and lapse in supervision.
Minimise distractions like mobile phones and books. Never take your eyes off of the people you are supervising, even if you are having a conversation with another adult. For pool parties, a supervision roster is advised where adults are allocated a 15 to 20-minute block of time to supervise the children in the pool with zero distractions.
Alternatively, it is recommended that a trained lifeguard is hired to supervise at a pool party. Discover the best ways to have a safe and fun pool party in our recent article here.
Illness from swimming in contaminated water
The water in a pool is a delicate balance of chemicals that can be thrown off easily when water is contaminated. Therefore, regular checking of the water and testing is recommended to adjust chemicals where necessary. If the water is not maintained correctly, it can quickly become contaminated and turn into a health risk for anyone who swims in the pool.
Unbalanced water is a breeding ground for viruses, microbes, and bacteria that cause illnesses such as gastro infections in the ears, nose and throat and other viral infections.
Doing a daily visual check of the pool water is an easy way to stay on top of potential contamination. For example, if the water looks cloudy or has changed since the last time you checked, then test the water and adjust the chemicals to be rebalanced.
On the other end of the spectrum, excessive chemicals can become a health risk, often causing eye and skin irritation and sometimes triggering asthma attacks.
Pool lights, pumps and any other electrical pool components pose a risk of electrocution if not installed correctly. Any electrical work around the pool or home should always be done by a trained, certified professional, no matter what. Never risk doing your electrical work, especially around the pool.
Sun damage and dehydration
When spending the day around the swimming pool, it is easy to forget to stay on top of sunscreen and water intake. However, severe sunburn and dehydration can result in serious injury and health risks. Therefore, it is good to reapply water-resistant sunscreen, rehydrate, and rest in the shade every 2 hours, especially on hot days.
Setting up a hydration station with cool water and water-resistant sunscreen makes it easy and convenient to remember to stay on top of hydration and sun protection. Additionally, cover up with swim tops and hats.
Hazards in the pool area
A list of potential hazards around the pool area can easily be avoided with a quick risk assessment conducted by an adult.
Things to look out for:
- A slippery deck
- Hazardous furniture and sharp edges
- Pool toys and other toys lying around
- Pool ladders and diving boards
- Climbing hazards such as tree branches, furniture and other items that can be used to scale a pool barrier
- Pool steps and steps around the pool area
Removing potential hazards before anyone enters is an easy way to reduce the risk of injury around the pool.
Our top tips
Here are a few tips to help avoid potential dangers around the pool space:
- First, establish some rules for everybody to follow when in the pool area.
- No running.
- No diving into the pool.
- No alcohol or food consumption in the pool or pool area.
- Keep a hydration station with sunscreen and fresh water available at all times.
- Ensure children are supervised no matter what. Adults should actively discuss who will supervise to avoid any confusion.
- Adults do a risk assessment of the pool area before anyone enters and remove any potential hazards.
- Always pack away toys once everyone has finished using them and keep toys maintained.
- Keep pool hygiene up-to-date by regular checking and testing the water and updating chemical balances.
- Ensure that your pool barriers and fences are safety compliant with a current safety certificate – contact us for a pre-compliance inspection to help you pass or reassess.
- Stay on top of regularly cleaning away any leaves or debris that enters the pool water.
Pools are a rewarding and fun experience. However, when you are aware of the risks and take action to minimise the dangers, you can enjoy your pool for years to come.