With the summertime upon us, a swimming pool often becomes the focus of family activities. It’s important to keep in mind several pool safety practices, especially if children are present in your home. With drowning being the second leading cause of accidental death for children under the age of 14, there’s no question that owning a pool is a huge responsibility. It makes sense to teach children how to swim early on. But don’t rely on baby’s swimming lessons alone.
Start with Basic Barriers
The barrier that surrounds your pool is the best line of defense for pool safety. A pool fence should be at least four feet tall, non-climbable, with self-closing, self-latching gates, and latches that are above the reach of children. The best pool fence will completely separate the pool from the house. Consider pool barriers that have no handholds or footholds, since these can be used by a child to climb over the fence. In addition to pool fencing, safety covers can also be used as an effective barrier for inground pools and spas.
Designed to keep kids out, pool covers are probably the best barrier if designed and used correctly. A good pool cover must be able to support an adult’s weight. To keep children out of the water reliably, the pool cover should attach securely in place. If rainwater collects, pump or drain the water away immediately; just a few inches of water in a sagging pool cover can endanger a small child. When people are swimming in the pool, remove the cover completely to eliminate the chance someone could become trapped under it. And whenever adults are not at poolside, lock the cover in place.
Pool Alarms for Added Protection
Consider adding alarms to your pool in “layers.” The first should be an alarm on the door or gate to the pool. The second alarm could be an alarm for around the pool area or if a movement in the water is detected. Many pool owners now have a third alarm for their children, one which can be worn around the wrist like a watch and will sound if it comes in contact with water.
When small children are in the pool area, watch them continuously; never leave, even for a minute. Mark the pool’s deep end with a rope supported by floats, and don’t allow non-swimmers or young beginning swimmers to go beyond the rope.