How Dangerous is Your Swimming Pool Deck?

July 17, 2020

swimming pool water with an orange floating safety device

Swimming pool decks have a significant impact on safety

Swimming pools provide a fun and refreshing experience for all ages. Whether it is a cool dip after a long day of work, leisure time, or for the kids, a pool deck is an envied facet of any home. Yet there are hidden dangers that lurk under the waves, as there are serious safety hazards attached to these facilities. 

According to the Canadian Government’s health blog, drowning is a leading cause of death for children, “The majority (57%) of drownings occurred in swimming pools in both residential and public settings with 49 % of the cases children and infants aged 4 years or younger.” (Government of Canada). While it may seem unlikely, these statistics were pulled from verified sources that reflect real incidents within Canada. The material of the swimming pool deck was a major contributor to fatalities in these cases. 

In other words, these incidents can and will happen. 

Common Swimming Pool Deck Hazards-

The same data blog provides more detail as to the causes of these deaths, stating, “Of the 290 deaths, 28 people (10%) died from drowning or falling in swimming pools, 14% were children between the ages of 1 and 4 years.” (Government of Canada). In other words, most deaths occur as a result of blunt trauma due to falling. Below features more detail around the other possible causes of injury and death around swimming pools. 



Impact Injury-

Impact injuries are defined by receiving blunt trauma as a result of slipping, falling, or tripping onto a hard surface. This makes sense, as there is a reason people are advised to not run along slippery poolsides. The damage received by these falls differs based on the material that the pool deck is composed of, however, with concrete being a popular choice it is easy to see how the results can be unpleasant. 

Drowning-

Drowning is commonly caused by another injury, usually an impact injury. A person could be running along the pool deck, slip, fall, and hit their head on the deck surface. The resulting trauma knocks the person unconscious, leaving them to drown in their own swimming pool. This is especially easy for younger children, as their bones are much weaker than average adults. 

Infection-

Following a trauma injury, there is an additional chance of developing an infection if the contact surface is abrasive. Whether it is coarse pool decking, a stray plastic toy, broken glass, or the wrong end of a diving board, an open wound is vulnerable to a manner of microbes. In pools, commonly found microbes are transferred through fecal and non-fecal means.

Fecal Transmission-

 

  • Shigella
  • Norovirus
  • E.Coli
  • Giardia
  • Cryptosporiduim

Other-

 

  • Legionella (shed skin)
  • Pseudomonas

Chemical Poisoning-

Sometimes improper chemical balances in swimming pools can create poisonous water. If there is too much chlorine, swimmers will suffer from chlorine poisoning. Too little chlorine will lead to a microbial infestation, which can lead to algae poisoning. 

Heat Exhaustion While Swimming- 

While swimming, it can be difficult to sense how much sweat you are releasing due to it dissipating in water. Because of this, many swimmers can find it difficult to pace themselves and accidentally find themselves susceptible to heatstroke. Heatstroke occurs when your body is depleted of water, electrolytes, and salt, which leads to overheating. Common symptoms include nausea, vomiting, and fainting, which can lead to drowning. 

How Can Water Injuries Be Prevented?




Injuries like those above can be prevented by creating a safe environment in the first place. Most of the physical injuries can be avoided by installing proper non-slip, non- abrasive, and water-resistant swimming pool deck materials. Our definitive guide provides additional context on poured rubber surfacing, which is a popular choice. 

Non-slip Surfaces

Non-slip surfaces have traction and are often water-proof. Some materials are naturally slip-resistant like softfall used in playgrounds. Alternatively, non-slip substances can be applied to surfaces that are inherently unsafe like concrete or wood. 

Non-abrasive surfaces

Non-abrasive surfaces are smooth for the sake of preventing cuts and scrapes during a fall. Some examples of smooth materials are poured rubber, tiles, and grass. These materials may not be slip-proof though. 

What is the Best Material For a Pool Deck?

With knowledge of all these potential hazards, is there a perfect material that can provide a safe, non-slip, non-abrasive environment around your pool? Yes, there happen to be specific substances made for this kind of safety. 


Poured Rubber 

Poured rubber surfaces deliver the best results when it comes to pool safety. The unique spongy material is made for cushioning falls while maintaining a smooth and seamless surface. This is made possible because of how poured rubber settles in place. The rubber flakes are mixed with polymers and molded into one shape, which is preserved for years. More information regarding poured rubber can be found here.

Rubber surfacing is also slip-resistant due to its water-repellent nature, reducing the risk of injury greatly. 

References

“Drowning Related Deaths and Injuries.” National Drowning Prevention Week – Data Blog – Chronic Disease Infobase | Public Health Agency of Canada, Government of Canada, 14 Aug. 2019, health-infobase.canada.ca/datalab/drowning-blog.html#fn2.

 

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