Connecticut’s outdoor swimming pool season is short, so pool owners take great care to prepare their pools for maximum use during our warm weather season from May through September. However, with that preparation comes a word of caution about the dangers of owning a swimming pool, and the risks of serious injuries, especially to children, when proper safety guidelines are not followed.
Unfortunately, when a child is injured in a Connecticut pool, it is often a very serious injury, or even, as was the case with a six year old from Greenwich, Connecticut, a fatality. It is especially sad, and frustrating, when such injuries can, or should have been prevented. In the Greenwich, Connecticut pool tragedy, the owner of the pool company responsible for the installation was arrested for failing to comply with swimming pool design and construction regulations, in omitting a protective valve cover. Because that valve cover was not in place, the six year old boy became trapped, under water, due to the valve’s strong suction. Had the cover been in place, as required by code, he could not have become trapped by that valve, it is claimed by his family’s attorneys. Just this year, Congress passed the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act. This act requires valves and drains to be properly covered, which will prevent many entrapments, and eviscerations.
Connecticut’s swimming pool laws are designed to protect swimmers from serious injury and even death, which can be caused by drowning, entrapment in a drain or valve, or due to misplaced diving boards in an area that is too shallow. There are a number of Connecticut swimming pool rules relating to safety, but a few are exceptionally noteworthy, and well worth mentioning, since many pool owners may not even be aware of them.
Whenever my kids visit a friend whose house has a pool, we ask safety questions in the same manner as if they child were going to a house where guns might be present: what safety measures are in place to protect my kids from harm? Will you be present at all times if the kids are in the pool? If not, then who will be watching them? Do you have fencing around the pool, and an alarm in place, as required? Most times, unless the house is one whose owners are close friends, and we are comfortable with how they handle their pool safety, we will simply ask that our child not be allowed in or even near the pool at all absent our presence. We have had no complaints from those parents, thankfully, as they have been both accommodating of our concerns, and genuinely pleased that we take such an interest in safety.