Pool expert says many property owners don’t know safety laws


In the wake a drowning and near drowning of children in two separate incidents at Gulfport pools, an expert is sharing safety tips for families and property owners. 

A week ago five-year-old Rashawn Thompson was found dead in an apartment pool. That same day, a six-year-old boy staying at a hotel was pulled from the bottom of a pool, but survived after two guest gave him CPR. Both of these incidents have a safety expert sharing some tips to property owners that he hopes can save lives.

At times, all that stands between a curious child and a swimming pool is a gate. So Ryan Alexander of Pool Breeze said the gate better be doing it’s job. One way to keep small children from wandering in is a magnetic latch that is at least three feet high.

“Just the magnetic,” said Alexander. “It’s on top. They don’t see it. It’s higher, out of the reach.”

Alexander said since people can sometimes forget to close gates behind them, it’s important the gate door should be self closing. He said the inside the pool areas are governed by laws, as well.

“They put them there for a reason. [It] is to help save the children and adults at some point, also,” said Alexander. “You have to have the signs: No lifeguard on duty, depths markings in the pool letting you know the depths of the pool, a shepard’s hook and a life ring. You need to know where that is in case someone in drowning.”

“Then they have the special main drain covers to keep kids from getting stuck on the bottom of the pool.”

Alexander said he believes many apartment complex and hotel owners want to comply with the safety regulations, but they don’t know what the rules are.

“There’s no one who is inspecting, that follows through on the inspections, so they don’t actually know what is the code and what is the law.”

He recommends property owners should look for information from the Association of Pool and Spa Professionals and the National Swimming Pool Foundation.

While the property owners can do a lot to prevent tragedy, Alexander reminds us that the number one factor is adults watching their children.

He said, “Adult supervision is the main concern. No drinking, no alcohol when you’re watching your kids swimming. Have a kid swim with a buddy, that seems to be really helpful. Just watch your kids at all times and know where they’re at. “

Statistics show drowning in the second leading injury related cause of death for children ages one to 14.

Copyright 2012 WLOX. All rights reserved.

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