Summer has arrived and with it all the worries that parents of young children feel when spending long days by the swimming pool.
Should an adult encounter difficulties in a pool it might take several minutes for drowning to occur. For a child it can take only 27 seconds. In 2014 in Spain, more than 100 children under the age of 14 died through drowning. Three-quarters of them happened at private swimming pools and 88 per cent of the children were under the supervision of an adult. The areas with the highest number of fatalities were Alicante and Tenerife.
Despite these statistics only 1 per cent of pools in Spain are properly secured. In France, where it is illegal to have a pool not properly guarded, owners are given a choice of three options: an alarm, a pool cover or a fence. In Spain, there are guidelines and recommendations to follow but as yet no law in place to improve safety for children.
Euro Weekly News spoke to pool security expert Steve Savage of Aguaspan based in Alfaz del Pi on what can be done to make pools safer: “In my opinion an alarm is pointless,” he said. “A parent might hear the alarm, register that a child has entered the water and run to investigate but by that time the child could be dead. In France, people who do not have children might install an alarm simply to comply with the law but it is not the safest option.”
So what is the safest way to safeguard children from the dangers of drowning?
“Fencing is best,” said Steve. “Pool covers are fine and nowadays very secure, stretched tightly over the water and secured so that kids cannot breach them. However, they need to be put back in place each evening and that encourages owners to skip performing a nuisance chore. Fencing is safe, attractive – usually mesh and aluminium pole at 1m12cm in height – and it can be replaced in sections, although a fence should last for around 10 years.
As you look forward to the grandchildren arriving for the summer holidays, take a moment to think about their safety and how you can make your pool a safe place to play.
Aguaspan, Calle del Ibiza 3, Alfaz del Pi
Tel: 638 024 708 Email: steve@aguaspan. com Website: www.aguaspan.com