Just a couple of days back, we were shocked by the death of a four year old child, who drowned in the swimming pool of a high end apartment complex, in Bannerghatta Road, Bangalore. The child accidentally fell into the pool while cycling. This is however not an incident without a precedence. Just a few months back, in another upscale apartment complex, in Sarjapur Road, Bangalore, a 11 year old child met the same fate. He was swimming unsupervised and his hand got stuck in the suction duct of the swimming pool, which resulted in his drowning. If we go back a few years, a similar incident happened in an apartment complex near Jakkur Road, when a 4 year old kid drowned in their apartment swimming pool.
Swimming pools have become a must have amenity in apartment complexes for prospective buyers today. Riding on this rising wave of demand, most builders have started providing swimming pools as a part of their projects. However, more care is taken to make a swimming pool visually appealing rather than putting proper safety regulations around it. The recent painful incidents demonstrate the need for both residents and builders to be more vigilant in aspects of design, regulations and supervision of a swimming pool.
Many builders are in the race for making a quick buck and pays very little attention to safety concerns. Government also does not have any statutory regulations around building swimming pools which builders have to follow.
Municipal bodies are supposed to scrutinize every building plan and safety measures, before providing the NOC for occupancy. However, this practice is hardly watertight and today many high end apartment complexes in cities across India, where residents are living for quite some years now, does not have NOCs. As accidents regarding swimming pools are not that common, residents and apartment management committees, more often than not, are a bit casual regarding safety regulations around the swimming pool. For example: If the number of apartment security guards are a concern, then management usually compromises on a security guard requirement at the pool and give more precedence to having extra security guards at the gates.
In the present scenario, the onus largely comes on us, to be demanding buyers and responsible residents. As a responsible resident, we should help the apartment management committee in putting together proper safety regulations around the swimming pool and also help in up keeping the same.
Below are a few best practices which we believe the apartment management committee should think about putting in place:
- There should be fixed pool timings for kids, when a lifeguard should be present. Number of lifeguards should be more if the size of the pool is large. All kids below 12 years of age should be supervised at all time by guardians
- During pool time for adults, a lifeguard should be present at all time. If not possible, then there should at least be an apartment security guard or similar personnel stationed in near vicinity who can supervise activity on the pool
- Cleaning and maintenance activities of apartment complex swimming pools should be properly supervised. It would help to maintain a checklist of activities during cleaning and maintenance.
- Lifesaving equipment should be kept handy around the pools
- Residents should be discouraged to develop the pool into a general hangout area. People seeing to have food, drinks and refreshments around pool should be discouraged
- Wheel chairs, perambulators should not be allowed around the swimming pool
- Children or adults using items like skateboards, roller skates, cycles should not be allowed around the pool area
- Persons under influence of alcohol or any other intoxicant should not be allowed near the pool
- Use of swim toys, balls in the pool, should be ratified by supervisor on duty
- Explore the possibility of covering the pool when not in use
- Last but not the least, the importance of maintaining safety measures around the swimming pool, should be communicated in clear terms to all residents. Consider the possibility of putting posters on swimming pool safety around the pool, or share the link of this blog on your ADDA forum. If your Apartment complex / housing society is still not online on ADDA, you can create one absolutely free on apartmentadda.com and start communicating with your neighbours. It’s much easier to discuss matters regarding your apartment complex swimming pool, decide on regulations to be put in place, conduct polls on matters which need resolution, etc. using various in built features of ADDA software.
It’s usually just wonderful to have a swimming pool in your apartment complex. It’s blissful to be able to jump into your exclusive pool during those hot summer days and splash around or to have a quite swim and unwind after a hectic day of work. Swimming can be the perfect morning exercise and boost to kick-start a new day. However, having a swimming pool in your apartment can be both a privilege and a liability depending on how one uses it. And it’s very easy to let it not become a liability. All you need is a little attention to SAFETY!