Swimming Pool Safety: Is Your Pool Safe or a Tragedy Waiting to Happen?
When you have a swimming pool and you are having guests or a pool party, sometimes you tend to put more focus on the swimming games and fun versus the pool safety. However, when it comes to swimming pools, there is no way you can be too cautious. According to the American Red Cross, over 200 children drown in backyard swimming pools each year. Being proactive and having rules in place could be the difference between life and death. There are steps you can take to improve pool safety for your children and their friends when they are playing in your pool. A few simple guidelines will help everyone stay safe, have more fun and feel at ease in the pool.
POOL SAFETY RULES
Before you open your pool up each summer, have a pre-season refresher with your friends and family on the pool rules. All ages can benefit from some simple guidelines to prevent accidents or drowning. Rules should include no swimming alone, no shallow diving, no running, no pushing and no dunking. Diving boards and slides need to have their own set of rules to avoid injuries. It may even be a good time to include a few rules of your own, such as keep the gates closed, clean up all pool toys and hang up wet towels after swimming. This meeting helps remind everyone that pools are fun, but can also be dangerous if the proper precautions are not taken.
POOL BARRIERS & ALARMS
Your pool should be secured with the appropriate barriers that are required in your geographic area. Most towns require a 4-foot or higher fence with a locking mechanism. Be sure to keep your gates locked when the pool is not in use. You may also want to consider installing a pool alarm that will sound when someone enters the pool and can detect if an object over a certain weight falls into the pool. When the pool is not open for the season, use an automatic pool cover or a sturdy winter safety cover and remove any ladders or steps. You can find safety barrier guidelines for residential pools from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission at https://cpsc.gov/Global/Safety%20Education/Safety-Guides/General-Information/SafetyBarrierGuidelinesResPools.pdf.
Ensure that everyone in your home knows how to swim well by signing up your children for swim lessons at an early age. Then, continue swim lessons at the start of each new pool season until they are proficient swimmers. You can further advance their swimming skills by playing swimming games to strengthen them. Find a list of fun games that help them become stronger swimmers at https://www.babble.com/kid/17-swimming-pool-games-for-kids-this-summer/. They can also play games after the sun goes down with the glow-in-the-dark game pieces from https://www.starluxgames.com/starlight-swimming-games/.
When you have guests and neighborhood kids over, know which of them can and cannot swim so that you can monitor accordingly.
Adult supervision is one of the most important steps when it comes to preventing pool-related accidents. Children should be under the surveillance of a designated Water Watcher at all times. The adult in charge should know how to swim and have a plan in case of emergency, as well as quick access to a phone. It’s easy to get distracted and a child can drown in the time it takes to walk inside to get a towel. Stay in reach of young children, and if you need to run inside for a few minutes, make them get out of the pool. Never let anyone swim alone.
SAFETY GEAR & CHEMICALS
Being a responsible swimming pool owner means keeping your pool water and deck clean and clear. Remove any tripping hazards on your deck and maintain proper chemical levels in your pool. Unbalanced pool chemistry could lead to cloudy water, reduced visibility, as well as irritated skin and other diseases. Check your pool water often, keep your pool chemicals balanced, practice proper cleaning techniques and ensure good water circulation. Get more information on pool chemistry at https://www.swimuniversity.com/basic-pool-chemistry-101/.
In addition to proper chemical maintenance, swimming pool owners should maintain the follow safety gear at their pool for emergencies: a phone to call 911, a shepherd’s hook or life ring to pull someone out of the water, a first aid kit, and safety scissors to cut hair out of a drain. Learn more about Pool Safely, a national public education campaign to reduce child-drowning incidents by visiting https://www.poolsafely.gov. Pools are a wonderful way to stay cool and swimming games can be a big part of summertime enjoyment. Have a fun and happy pool season by following the steps to keep your pool safe and your summer accident free.