Nothing epitomizes the soundtrack of summer quite like the splish-splashing of waves heard in the backyard pool as parents, friends, kids and neighbors jump in to cool off. All too often, though, injuries take place in these watering holes that probably never should have happened.
As hard as it may be to believe, some 5,000 people were admitted to the emergency room in 2012 due to injuries they sustained from pool chemicals. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that close to half of these injuries were among children and teenagers, and one-third happened at home rather than in a community pool.
The CDC's Michele Hiavsa, an expert on swimming health, said pool chemicals are important to prevent germs from spreading within pool water. But you can never be cavalier about when they're added, nor where they're stored.
If you have a pool or are thinking about installing one, keep these tips in mind to prevent pool chemical injuries:
1. Read the instruction manual. Every pool chemical kit has detailed instructions on when chemicals should be used and in what amounts. Make sure you know the precise amounts. In other words, don't guess!
2. Always handle with care. With chemicals being what the are - dangerous to ingest or inhale - you'll want to make sure you don't accidentally come into contact with them. Safety equipment like goggles, masks and gloves will come in handy.
3. Store in a safe area. Animals and kids are naturally curious and are bound to get into something they're not supposed to. Keep pool chemicals in a place where they would never come into contact with them.
4. Never mix chemicals. You're not in chemistry class any more, so don't go mixing one chemical with another. They're kept in separate containers for a reason.
5. Don't assume anything. You may be inclined to make assumptions about what you're supposed to do when adding chemicals to pool water. Don't. For instance, only pre-dissolve pool chemicals when the directions say to.
6. Don't confuse the order. You may want to see what happens to water when it's added to chemicals. You're going to have to keep on wondering, though, as water should never be added to pool chemicals. Pool chemicals are added to water, never the other way around.
Remember, proper chemical use is particularly important to prevent children from being injured. Nearly half of all injuries in recent years in pools have been among kids under the age of 15.
The information in these articles is intended to provide guidance on the proper maintenance and care of systems and appliances in the home. Not all of the topics mentioned are covered by our home warranty or maintenance plans. Please review your home warranty contract carefully to understand your coverage.
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