Pool and Spa Safety

family swimming Jul 07, 2014

With summer upon us, I have been thinking and hearing more about pool safety. In one of my email mommy groups, a mom shared a good experience with Safety Turtle, a pool and spa safety alarm system. Intrigued, I looked into this product further (and S File™ readers get a special discount!), which led me to read more about water safety and water-related fatalities and injuries. Below are some highlights that I hope will provide useful perspective.

In this write-up:


Statistics on Water Fatalities and Injuries

  • In 2007, there were 3,443 fatal unintentional drownings in the United States, averaging ten deaths per day. More than one in five fatal drowning victims are children 14 and younger. (1)
  • For every child who dies from drowning, another four received emergency department care for nonfatal submersion injuries. (1) Nonfatal drownings can cause brain damage that may result in long-term disabilities including memory problems, learning disabilities, and permanent loss of basic functioning (e.g., permanent vegetative state). (1) Overall, 5% to 10% of drowning incidents result in severe neurologic damage, but such poor outcomes are even more common when the drowning occurs in open-water settings.(2)

Men and Children are at Higher Risk


  • In 2007, of all children 1 to 4 years old who died from an unintentional injury, almost 30% died from drowning. Although drowning rates have slowly declined, fatal drowning remains the second-leading cause of unintentional injury-related death for children ages 1 to 14 years. (1)
  • The highest rate of drowning is in the 0- to 4-year age group (2.5 per 100 000), and children 12 to 36 months of age are at the highest risk (almost 4 deaths per 100 000). (2)
  • There is a second peak incidence in adolescence, attributable entirely to a high number of male drowning deaths. (2)


  • After 1 year of age, males are at greater risk of drowning than are females at all ages. Up to 12 years of age, drowning death is roughly twice as common in boys as in girls, but in adolescents, the rate is approximately 10 times higher for boys.(2)
  • The higher drowning rate for males has been explained by greater exposure to aquatic environments, overestimation of swimming ability, higher risk-taking, and greater alcohol use.(2)

Other Noteworthy Things That I Read

  • In many cases, drowning is a silent event, without splashing or a call for help.
  • Among drowning victims younger than 15 years of age, two-thirds of deaths occur from May through August.(2)
  • Drowning also occurs disproportionately on Saturdays and Sundays.(2)
  • The peak time of day was 5:00 to 6:00 PM, and 75% of all incidents occurred between 12:00 and 8:00 PM. (2)

Drowning Prevention: Implement Layers of Protection

Until recently, I didn't know to think of water safety in terms of "layers of protection." The websites of the CDC and the American Academy of Pediatrics have good tips on prevention. A summary is below:

Water-Entry Alarms

A mom recently emailed a group of moms to say that she had just used a water-entry alarm system by Safety Turtle and had a good experience.

Safety Turtle

From its website: Safety Turtle® is a family of Wireless Alert products designed to enhance security in the home and in the workplace.

Originally introduced in 1998 as a “last layer of protection” for young children near water, the Safety Turtle personal immersion alarm has been adapted for pets, patients doing water physiotherapy, for workers near water hazards, to automatically alert lifeguard rescues, and as a “wireless lanyard” www.powerboatsafety.com to prevent propeller injury with falls overboard. The Safety Turtle wireless gate alarm introduced in 2006 satisfies the need of home owners [and the hospitality sector] to remotely monitor pool and property fence gates.

Click on Safety Turtle to learn more!

Special Discount on Safety Turtle for SFile Readers!

I haven't tried the Safety Turtle yet but will be seriously looking into it. PoolCenter.com is generously offering readers of The S File™ 15% off any order over $50 for any product in its safety category, including of course, the safety turtle products. Just enter "SAFETY15" at PoolCenter.com. Offer expires August 31, 2010.

Sources: (1) Source: "Unintentional Drowning: Fact Sheet" by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2) ”Prevention of Drowning”; PEDIATRICS Vol. 126 No. 1 July 2010, pp. e253-e262. 253-e262. Published online May 24, 2010

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Ruan Living simplifies a nontoxic lifestyle through its Practical Nontoxic Living podcast, free detox workshops, online D-Tox Academy, and transformative 40-Day Home Detox. It aims to help you avoid toxic chemicals, heavy metals, and electromagnetic fields (EMFs) from what you buy, own, and do— without compromising your joy and convenience. Ruan was founded by Sophia Ruan Gushée, author of the bestselling critically acclaimed book A to Z of D-Toxing: The Ultimate Guide to Reducing Your Toxic Exposures and several detox workbooks. A graduate of Brown University and Columbia Business School, Sophia has served on the Brown University School of Public Health Advisory Council and Well+Good Council. A popular nontoxic living speaker, consultant, and teacher, Sophia lives in New York City with her husband and three daughters. Her passion for empowering others to enjoy nontoxic living began with the birth of her first daughter in 2007. Everything she creates is a love letter to her children and for the healthiest, brightest future possible. You can learn more here: Sophia’s Impact.


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