As we approach the Memorial Day weekend, we look forward to the beginning of residential and public pool openings in the Midwest. In 2012, injuries from pool chemicals led to nearly 5,000 emergency room visits, according to a study released Thursday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Nearly half of these preventable injuries were in children and teenagers and more than a third occurred at a home. Pool chemical injuries were most common during the summer swim season beginning on Memorial Day through Labor Day.
“Chemicals are added to the water in pools to stop germs from spreading. But they need to be handled and stored safely to avoid serious injuries,” said Michele Hlavsa, chief of CDC’s Healthy Swimming Program.
What can you do to keep your pool safer from chemical injuries during the summer season.
For pool owners:
• Keep chemicals in storage area away from children
• Know how to handle chemicals with the appropriate safety equipment
• Train others how to use equipment
• Consult with the local fire department for any questions or concerns
• Never mix different chemicals with each other
• Read all instructions and follow implicitly
• Never add water to pool chemicals. Add chemicals to water
• Check chlorine level and pH before allowing anyone to use the pool. Pool test strips are available to check water safety and adequate levels
• Children should use the bathroom every hour
• Diapers should be checked every 30 minutes
• Shower with soap before you swim in a public pool
• Shower when finished using the pool for the day
Contrary to public belief, chlorine does not kill germs instantly. Once germs get into a pool it can take time, which may be days, to kill certain bacteria.
May 19–25 is Recreational Water Illness and Injury (RWII) Prevention Week. The theme for RWII Prevention Week 2014 is “Healthy and Safe Swimming: We’re in it Together.” It focuses on the role of swimmers, aquatics and beach staff, residential pool owners and public health officials in preventing drowning, pool chemical injuries, and outbreaks of illnesses.
Summer brings the promise of fun in the sun but many unexpected injuries can occur, including severe boating accidents and drowning. It is a good time to plan for your families protection adding life insurance.