A law that went into effect on Jan. 1, 2018, which requires an additional safety feature for newly-constructed or remodeled pools and spas, aims to reduce swimming pool drownings and spa drownings, The Orange County Register reports. These types of drowning incidents are the leading cause of death among toddlers in California. This new law will also bolster a 20-year-old regulation that mandates new or remodeled swimming pools to have at least one layer of protection such as a fence, cover or an alarm.
The new law requires pools and spas to have at least two safety mechanisms such as an enclosure that separates the pool or spa from the home; a removable mesh fence with a self-closing, self-latching gate that can be locked; an approved pool cover; exit alarms on the home doors alerting residents should a child access the pool or spa; and an alarm in the pool and spa that sounds when someone enters the water.
Drowning and Near Drowning
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about one in five people who die from drowning are children who are 14 and younger. For every child who dies from drowning, another five receive emergency department care for nonfatal submersion injuries. More than 50 percent of drowning victims treated in emergency departments require hospitalization. These near drowning injuries can cause severe brain damage, which could result in long term disabilities such as memory issues, learning disabilities and permanent loss of basic functioning.
Young children in California particularly face a higher risk of drowning and near-drowning because of year-round good weather in our state. We tend to use pools and spas year-round and this also heightens the risk for drowning and near-drowning incidents.
Taking the Necessary Steps
There are several steps that can be taken to prevent drowning and near-drowning incidents, most of which happen in the backyards of homes:
- Adult supervision is one of the most critical factors in drowning prevention. Adult supervision must be provided 100 percent of the time when children are in or near the water. Never drink alcohol while supervising children.
- Kids who are under 5 should be kept within arm’s reach while in the water. Remember, water wings, tubes and life jackets cannot replace supervision for children ages 0 to 5.
- Install a child-proof barrier around your pool and spa area. Have several layers of protection including the fencing, gates that are self-latching and can be locked and poolside alarms.
- Learn CPR and make sure all children and adults in your family go to swim lessons and water safety training.
If your child has been injured in a near-drowning incident or if you have lost a loved one, please contact an experienced California swimming pool accident lawyer to obtain more information about pursuing your legal rights.