Pool season is upon us and it’s up to you to create a safe environment for kids to swim in. Swimming can be such a huge relief in the heat of the summer, but it can also turn a fun day into a tragic one in minutes. Here are some tips to keep your loved ones safe around the pool.
- Adult supervision is always required – An adult should supervise all water activities. Children who cannot swim should always remain an arm’s length away, at the most. Never leave children of any age unattended while swimming, and pay attention to older kids while they are in the water, even if you feel that they are good swimmers. Drowning only takes seconds and often happens silently.
- Enclose the pool with a fence – The fence should be at least 4’ high, enclosed on all sides of the pool and have a childproof safety gate to gain entry to the area. Ensure there are no gaps along the edges or bottom of the pool that could allow a child to sneak through and gain entry to the pool.
- Pool safety rules – All swimmers should be reminded of the pool rules: no running around the pool, always swim with an adult, never push anyone into the pool, no jumping onto other people in the pool, don’t dive in shallow water and never swim alone! It may seem like a lot of rules, but kids need to know how serious pool safety is.
- Swim lessons – All kids should start swim lessons by the age of two or three, though they can start younger if you’d like. It’s important that your child can swim to the side of the pool and that they know what to do in an emergency should they accidentally fall into the pool. Very young children can be taught basic self-rescue skills, such as floating on their backs, being able to swim a short distance underwater and knowing how to get themselves out of the pool.
- Remove temptation when the pool is not in use – Invest in a sturdy pool cover for your pool, preferably one that needs a key to open and one that can safely be walked on should a child wander over the cover. Remove all toys, floaties and other items from the area and store them out of view. If an area doesn’t look fun, a child is less likely to want to enter the area to begin with.
- Consider installing alarms and locks – Installing a surface wave alarm will alert you when the surface of the water has been broken. They can be turned off while you are in the pool and then reactivated once you leave the area. You should also consider locks and alarms for doors and gates leading to the pool area. They will alert you if someone is trying to open the door or gate to the pool area and can be turned off while you are using the area. They are not a replacement for a well-fenced in pool, but an addition to your pool security protocol.
- Keep your pool clean and clear – Stay up to date with pool maintenance, always make sure your chemicals remain at appropriate levels, keep your filters clean and make sure your circulation system is free of debris. This will ensure that you have clear pool water and can safely see to the bottom of the pool.
- Keep away from pool drains – Always have swimmers stay away from pool drains to reduce the risk of something getting caught on the drain and a swimmer getting trapped at the bottom of the pool.
- Remove risk – Always empty small pools and buckets of water after each use and place them upside down if you store them outside, that way they won’t collect water. Remove ladders and lock them up if you possibly can; this is especially important for above ground pools that may not have fences or alarms on them. Removing access to bodies of water reduces the risk of drowning.
- Know first aid and CPR – Every adult in your household should be appropriately trained in first aid and CPR so that they can adequately respond to any emergency that may happen in your household. It’s a good idea to always keep a phone with you by the pool, that way you have quick access to help if there’s an emergency.
Drowning can happen to anyone, at anytime. If you cannot find your child, check your pool first so you don’t waste precious time. Swimming is such a wonderful activity to do with your children, so do everything that you can to make those memories positive ones this summer!
Author: Erin McNeill