Pool design, fencing can also help prevent accidents

Apart from hiring lifeguards, what can be done to prevent drownings?

One element is pool design, said Dr Ng Yih Yng, who is the Singapore Civil Defence Force's (SCDF) chief medical officer.

For example, the pool's depth should always be clearly marked. Its floor should also be constructed in such a way that people do not unknowingly move out of their depth.

While these standards have been established in guidelines for the design and management of aquatic facilities, they are currently not mandatory, Dr Ng said.

Dr Joanna Chan, who is a senior resident in the Singapore General Hospital's emergency medicine department, added that parents should keep their children within arm's reach.

In addition, pool owners should consider fencing off their pools.

"It seems increasingly relevant to the local context, with the proliferation of condominium pools located near poolside barbecue facilities and function rooms," she said.

"Children attending such events (are) liable to play by the poolside, and risk accidentally falling into the pool."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 10, 2017, with the headline 'Pool design, fencing can also help prevent accidents'. Subscribe