Please Close Gate – Save a Life!
“Please, Close Gate – Save a Life.” Unfortunately, at the apartment complex where this sign was hanging, a 4-year-old child gained access to the pool area and drowned. This and other drowning injuries and deaths are 100% preventable. Despite this fact, numerous children drown each year, many in the apartment complexes where they live. In fact, the State of Arizona is consistently one of the highest in the nation, along with Florida, Texas and California, in the number of deaths of children ages 0 to 14 years old by drowning.
Despite what many think they know about drowning and what a drowning victim looks like, drowning is a silent killer. A drowning victim may never cry out, wave for help, or even splash around in distress. Even the most vigilant adult can temporarily lose sight of a child in a pool. Knowing what safety measures your apartment complex is required to have can help ensure your child stays safe from drowning.
Swimming pools located in apartment and condominium complexes are considered semipublic pools under Arizona law. These types of swimming complexes are regulated by Arizona and Pima County law and require owners of these pools to take the following safety precautions:
• Have safety equipment located at the pool, including at least one ring buoy with a rope attached to it (or other life-saving devices) and a shepherd’s crook mounted on a 16 foot pole;
• Have a fence around the pool that is at least five feet high;
• Have a self-closing and self-latching gate that opens outward and is at least four and half feet high, with gaps in the fence no more than four inches wide;
• Keep pool water clear – free from scum, floating debris, sediment, dirt, slime and algae;
• Have appropriate lighting so that the whole pool and spa area may be seen (both day and night).
Additional safety precautions, although not yet required by state or county law, may constitute the standard of care and should be utilized by semipublic pools. These additional precautions include multiple levels of barriers for entry into the pool, pool covers with security latches, and deck alarms.
If you have any concerns about your children’s safety around a semipublic pool, you may want to consider a safety audit. Nathan Rothshild, attorney at Mesch Clark Rothschild, in Tucson, Arizona, at 520-624-8886, will be happy to recommend a pool safety expert who can ensure all necessary safety precautions are being taken to protect you and your family. To learn more about making your pool a safe and fun place for children, visit The Consumer Product and Safety Commission website at http://www.poolsafety.gov.