The past five weeks have been among the most deadly in years for children, with two 10-year-old girls dead in the Savyon swimming pool of one girl’s grandmother -- joining the 13 others who perished in preventable accidents.
On Thursday, the two girls were named as Koral Sheri and Or Koran.
The girls, both from Yehud and good friends at school, apparently died either of electrocution in the pool or were poisoned from a chemical in the water. They were buried on Thursday after autopsies were carried out at the L. Greenberg Institute of Forensic Medicine at Abu Kabir.
Police said Thursday afternoon that they have still not determined the cause of death and that they don't expect to know for probably a few days at least.
On Thursday morning, the company "Maytronics", which makes an automated pool cleaner, posted a statement on the website of the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange saying that in articles about the tragedy they saw pictures of their pool-cleaning "robot", and that they are having difficulty understanding "any connection between the product to the deaths, partly due to the fact that it operates on 24 volts of power."
The Center for Occupational Safety’s information director Andrei Matias stated on Thursday that following the rules is needed to prevent more tragic and senseless accidents. Swimming pools must always be surrounded by a fence to prevent small children from getting in. Their swimming must always be supervised.
The pool’s electrical system must be sealed to prevent the entrance of water that could cause electrocution. These systems must use low-level current, no more than 12 volts. The electrical equipment, including pumping, filtration and lighting, has to be no closer than three to five meters from the pool. There must be shield breakers with a sensitivity of 30 mili-ampere that are checked at least once monthly.
Pool cleaning and sterilization materials must be stored in a locked, shady and ventilated area, with signs indicating what they are. Chemical materials must be on a separate shelf, and the pool users must be trained in utilizing them. The automatic equipment that injects the chemicals must be checked and maintained regularly. Do not mix different chemicals or clean or sterilize the pool water when swimming in it. Wash your hands carefully after using the chemicals.
Private swimming pools are not covered by the same regulations as public pools; in most cases, professionals who install and maintain pools are trusted. But one must always keep an eye on children who use the pool at home or, in the recent case in a bed-and-breakfast resort in the north, on vacation. While there are usually lifesavers at public pools, there are none at private pools, thus requiring more parental or or adult supervision at all times.
Locks must be installed as high as possible to prevent children from opening the gate. An alarm system should be installed to warn when someone enters the pool area without permission. When the pool is not in use, the water should be covered if there is no fence. Surfaces around the pool must not be slippery.
Moving toys such as bicycles must not be located near pool so children do not fall in. Do not leave chairs, tables or other furniture near the pool that can be climbed on to enter the fenced-off poll area, said Matias.
When construction of the pool is planned, it should be done with a clear view from the home to the pool. The pool’s various depths should be marked every 20 centimeters, even though this is not required by law. Access to pumping openings should be locked. First aid equipment, including an aluminum pole five meters long with a ring at the end, should always be available for swimmers to grasp if they get into trouble in the water.
Ben Hartman contributed to this report.