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Deadly swimming pools

 
Swimming pools can be a hazard for domestic helpers and their children.
shoes next to swimming pool
By Scott Dunlop

Pic: Shutterstock

Did you know that there were several reported incidents of drowning in residential swimming pools during the December holiday period? What’s notable is that within those stats, children of domestic workers featured more than long-term residents of the houses concerned.

According to Netcare911:
“[in the December holiday period] we attended to several children of domestic workers who had drowned, or nearly drowned, at their parents’ place of work. Some of these children are from other provinces and come to visit their family for the holidays and are not familiar with swimming pools or the hazards that lie within.”

Netcare911 continues, “One of the scariest statistics is that, for every child that dies from drowning, five are left with permanent brain damage as a result of the prolonged lack of oxygen which occurs during a near drowning. It takes only four minutes without oxygen for irreversible brain damage to occur.”

Contributing factors are:
  • Children of domestic workers coming to stay during school holidays
  • These kids may come from rural areas where formal swimming training is limited
  • The swimming pools may belong to homeowners who don’t have children of their own, and therefore don’t have fences or other safety features on or around their pools.
Even domestic helpers are at risk when it comes to being around a swimming pool if this pool is not safety-proofed and the helper cannot swim. A gardener who can’t swim being asked to clean a swimming pool, for example, places that individual at risk of a traumatic submersion or worse.

Small safety features could save lives

It’s a small consideration, but if you’re the owner of a swimming pool and your domestic helper, gardener or other staff and their children have access to that pool, perhaps you could look at either providing safety mechanisms such as fences or pool covers/nets, or swimming lessons to help prevent those accidents which can take place so quickly.

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Is your pool safe for your domestic helpers and their kids?

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