If you have a backyard pool, you know how much fun it can be to spend time with the kids, enjoy a nice dip and play some games in the water. But swimming in private pools requires extra vigilance and safety, as there’s no lifeguard in the event of an emergency. Each year, around 200 children drown in backyard pool accidents. Don’t let your child become a statistic! Here are some excellent ways to stay safe while you splash around for the rest of the summer.
- Secure your pool – Backyard pools require at least a 4-foot high fence, according to the American Red Cross. The gate needs to be self-closing and latching. If you have a pool or hot tub that is not in use, secure it with a safety cover and consider installing an alarm so you will be alerted when anyone enters the pool when you’re not using it.
- Actively supervise children – Active supervision means that you are watching the water at all times. People who are drowning often do not make noise or splash at the surface of the water to get your attention, so you need to be aware at all times. Be within arms’ reach of young children any time they are swimming. Do not allow anyone to swim alone. Young or inexperienced swimmers should use a U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket.
- Keep the water clear – Check your chemical levels and filtration to make sure the water is safe to swim in. You can avoid common pool-related problems like earaches, skin irritation and diseases by maintaining proper chemical levels.
- Teach everyone to swim – There are age-appropriate swim classes for everyone, from babies to grandparents. It’s never too early or late to learn to swim, and it’s one of the best things you can do to avoid drowning accidents.
- Have pool rules and stick to them – Make sure the kids know proper pool safety rules and abide by them. Good pool rules to have are: always swim with a buddy and stay away from drain covers, along with no pushing, horseplay, glass or electronics near the pool, running nor diving.
- Receive appropriate training for water emergencies – Know CPR and how to respond in the event of a water emergency. The Red Cross offers courses in first aid and CPR. Have the proper safety equipment to deal with a water emergency. Teach children what to do in the event of an emergency.
- Mark water depths – Have obvious marks where the water changes depth. Use a floating barrier to mark where the pool goes from shallow to deep. If you have an area where diving is permitted, have it checked by a professional to ensure it is deep enough and meets all safety standards. Make it is clearly marked where diving is and is not allowed.
- Check for safety hazards in and around your pool – There should be a safety ladder at both ends of your pool with handrails small enough for a child to grasp and steps at least 3 inches deep. Make sure ladders have no sharp metal edges, and check periodically for rust or corrosion. Have electrical equipment is inspected by a licensed electrician. Pool decks and diving boards should be made of non-slip materials.
At Sparkles!, water safety is top of mind during outings to water parks–a regular part of our summer camp fun. If you would like more information on how we teach pool safety to our campers, contact us. Enjoy the rest of the summer, and be safe!