Keeping Your Family Safe Near the Swimming Pool
A backyard swimming pools provides hours of fun for you, your family and friends, they also come with certain risks, and there’s no on-duty lifeguard to respond promptly to those dangers. This tips will help you with basic pool safety so you can enjoy this fun part of summertime.
Install an impenetrable casing that completely covers the pool and prevents access to the water. Hot tubs should also be covered and locked.
Fencing and Gates
Erect a fence and self-closing gate around your pool, making sure the spaces between the
pickets, bottom rail and the ground are no more than four inches apart. The fence should be at least five feet tall so children and animals can’t climb over to get into an unattended pool.
Install drain covers
Strong drain suction may trap a person in the pool. Long hair, jewelry, and even limbs can also get caught in a faulty drain, leading to drowning. If anyone becomes trapped, turn the pump off immediately and insert a small object between the person and the drain to break the seal.
Affix a rope or float line across the pool so swimmers know where the deep end separates from the shallow end.
First Aid Kits and Equipment
Every pool should have a life ring with a diameter of at least 17 inches that can be thrown to help struggling swimmers stay afloat. A safety hook is another piece of equipment for pulling people to safety. Keep a first aid kit, a pair of scissors and a charged cell phone near the pool in case of emergency.
Lack of supervision is a common factor in pool drownings. Always supervise children in or near your pool. Water wings or a life jacket aren’t safety devices. Install a poll door-alarm to alert you when a child opens it.
Kids should avoid rough play in a pool at all times. Never swim alone or allow your kids to do so. Don’t dive in a backyard pool, as the water isn’t deep enough. Slide down the pool slide feet-first only. Most backyard pools aren’t warm enough for infants, so limit babies to less than ten minutes at a time.
Infection and Germ Safety
Always put your baby and toddler who isn’t potty trained in a swim diaper. Regular diapers don’t contain feces when submersed in a pool. Change the swim diaper as soon as it’s soiled. Cryptosporidium and Giardia, can cause serious illness and are spread through contaminated water. Chlorine doesn’t kill those germs.
Properly store and handle pool chemicals. Keep chemicals locked and don’t allow children to have access to them.
Apply sunscreen 30 minutes before going outside. Reapply sunscreen every two hours and use as high an SPF as possible. Use at least one ounce over your whole body, including your feet, nose, ears and lips. Stay in the shade when possible to protect against sunburns and heat stroke. The
sun’s UV rays are strongest between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
No Running and No Glass
Teach kids not to take glass outside. Wet hands or feet can lead to slips and broken glass. Use plastic or foam cups instead.
Choose a cute reusable water bottle, as adults need an estimated 11 to 15 cups of water or other fluids a day to stay fully hydrated. More water is needed during hot and humid weather. Avoid alcohol because it impairs swimming skills and judgement.
Clean Your Pool Often
Regularly check, clean and replace pool filters. A hand skimmer helps keep larger debris out of the filters. Testing the chemical balance of the water in your pool is one of the most important things you can do, as the chemicals help keep people safe and healthy.
Learn Swimming and CPR
Everyone in a home with a pool should know how to swim and do CPR. At least one adult should know first aid and CPR.
Establish a set of rules for the pool and communicate them to anyone who comes to use it. Go over the rules with your kids, babysitters and any visitors so they understand the importance of pool safety.
Attached Photo: Image credit to Lars Plougmann on Flickr
BIO: Patricia Dimick is a Denver based writer and a passionate coffee drinker. She loves to write about parenting topics and loves DIY jobs. When Patricia’s not writing or playing table tennis, she usually spends time with her precious daughter and a husband enjoying trips to nature. You can reach her @patricia_dimick.