Every summer the popularity of recreation in water grows, but with this, the risks to safety grow too. On average, more than 400 people drown in the UK each year, nearly 60% of these are children and young people. ‘Swimming’ as an activity accounts for an average of 60 people out of the 400 deaths and although most of these are at outdoor locations, such as rivers and at the sea, there are still 5 to 6 people who drown in a swimming pool.
A person can drown in as little as 2cm of water, so reducing the drowning risk by the implementation of safety devices for home pools and hot tubs should be an essential discussion point for any installer and their customer.
With an estimated 250,000 domestic pools in the UK, we must continue to highlight the importance of informed choice for pool and spa owners, so that more domestic facilities are better protected with a safety device to increase the layers of protection, while remembering that adult supervision is always going to be crucial in keeping people safe around pool and spa water.
The most obvious devices that professionals will want to recommend are ‘safety covers’, enclosures, and fences.
Some people may choose to use alarms and SPATA has also ensured that the new European standard for domestic pools recognises the potential importance of having a boundary property fence/wall to reduce the chances of unauthorised access to a swimming pool. BISHTA is also working with other experts to ensure that safety devices are referenced in the European standard for domestic spas and hot tubs.
This voluntary self-regulation on safety has been the fundamental principle by which SPATA, BISHTA and many other Pool and Spa Associations across Europe have acted when developing these standards. Although the standards are not Law, they are considered the relevant guidance that professionals are expected to follow.
During June (18th – 26th) it is Drowning Prevention Week (initiated by RoSPA), and many wet leisure organisations are working to promote awareness of the number of accidental drownings that happen every year in the UK. These types of incidents are quite sobering, but they should not detract from the fact that our industry provides people with an unrivalled opportunity to get fit, have fun, lead more stress-free lifestyles and to promote their wellness through the use of the many wet leisure products that we have available. While we must be vigilant about safety, we also must help to ensure that the growing demand for our products is met with high-quality workmanship, impressive customer service and a desire to keep on improving.