Water Safety: 5 Steps for Swimming Pool Safety
Summer is coming up fast, and that means the family swimming pool will get a lot of use. The kids will invite over their friends, there will be backyard barbecues, and most likely a lot of traffic around the pool. It’s going to be a lot of fun, but pool owners want to make it a safe time as well. Here are some ways you can ensure swimming pool safety this year.
4 Ways to Ensure Swimming Pool Safety
1. Fence It In—According to Healthychildren.org, the main benefit of a pool fence is simply to limit access. Only adults should allow someone into the pool, so a child can’t just wander into the pool area. A good pool fence should enclose your entire pool area and be at least 4 feet high. Make sure your fence is climb resistant. You don't want to have anything alongside the fence which can be used to help climb over. The fence should not have footholds or handholds that could help a child climb up it. If there are vertical slats in the fence, they should be no more than 4 inches apart. Because chain link fences are very easy to climb, they are not recommended as pool fences. If chain link must be used, the diamond shape should be no larger than 1 ¾ inches. The fence should extend all the way to the ground.
2. Install Alarms—Protect doors leading to your pool with an alarm. Install an underwater alarm that alerts you when something hits the water. Make sure you can hear the alarm from all areas of your home, especially inside your home.
3. Block Pool and Hot Tub Access—Make sure your pool and hot tub have a locking cover. Remove above ground steps or ladders when pool is not in use. Don't let water accumulate on top of your pool or hot tub. Children can drown in the smallest amount of water so it is always better to be safe than sorry.
4. Teach Kids to Swim—One of the best ways to ensure water safety is to teach your kids to swim. Most kids should learn to swim around the age of 5. Swimming lessons won't necessarily protect children from drowning, but can help them if they get into a dangerous situation.
5. Keep Your Eyes Peeled—Never leave children unattended at the pool. Don't be distracted by cell phones or tablets. Don't rely on blow-up or other safety devices to protect your children from danger. During a pool party, take turns being the pool watch to ensure water safety at all times. Children might try and climb out a window in a house to try and return to the pool area.
According to Poolsafely.gov, drowning is one of the major causes of accidents resulting in serious injury or death with children. No one wants to endure the tragedy of a child drowning. The majority of fatalities reported in 2010 were children younger than 5 years of age. The overwhelming number of those deaths happened in pools, and in residential locations. Two-thirds of the fatalities were boys under the age of 15. These are sobering statistics, and only reinforce the need for pool safety, which includes proper fencing to limit access. Even a close call can be a traumatic experience, and something no one wants to endure.
How do you enforce swimming pool safety?
Photo courtesy of FlickrBecky Flanigan is a freelance writer for In The Swim. She has 3 kids with her wonderful husband—two boys and a girl— and two lovely golden retrievers. She is also an avid runner, and is diligently training for her first half marathon.