Swimming pool safety tips
Keep your kids safe this summer with these swimming pool safety tipsSummer time means swimming pools and kids -- the best, and often the worst, combination. Every year, preventable tragedies happen when pool owners neglect basic water safety rules.
It doesn't have to be that way. You can enjoy your pool, and keep your kids safe with these basic swimming pool safety tips.
Rules for safer swimming pools
- Have pool safety and water rescue equipment within reach, including a long pole and a rescue ring or tow bag with a rope attached.
- Make sure there is a barrier around the pool if you have small children, or if there are small children in the neighborhood. Make sure the slats are close enough together to prevent small visitors from slipping through. And NEVER leave the gate propped open!
- Never leave a child or children unsupervised near a pool. That means two things...make sure there are adults present at the pool, AND make sure those adults are closely watching the children. Of all the swimming pool safety tips you will hear, this is the most important one. Many lives have been lost when everyone at a party or family event thought someone else was actually watching the kids.
- Instruct babysitters to keep children away from the swimming pool. When parents are away, kids should not be in the pool. Even well-meaning babysitters can become distracted by a phone call, a video, an e-mail, another child or a friend nearby. Show them how to check latches and pool alarms if you have them.
- Never let children swim when the only adults present cannot swim. Even a tall adult could not get to a child in the deep end of a pool without being able to swim, and many non-swimmers are actually too afraid of the water to go in at all.
- Install door alarms on all entrances to the patio or yard, which will alert you if a door near the pool is opened and a pool alarm that goes off if something goes into the water.
- Make sure your pool's drains are covered with anti-suction devices. Many drowning have occurred when a child became entrapped in a drain's powerful suction. In fact, many parts of the country are now mandating these covers on all pool drains.
- Swimming lessons do not protect a child from drowning risks. Even a child who does well in a swim class can panic and forget everything they've learned if they fall into a pool alone.
- If you have a pool, and a child is missing from the house, check the pool first. Look at the bottom and along the sides...small children can be hard to spot in deep water, and seconds count.
- Make sure everyone in the household, including babysitters, are certified in CPR for water rescues.
- Have a telephone on the patio, or make it a practice to always carry a portable phone with you when you go outside to watch the kids in the pool. If you're in the pool with them, keep the phone within a few feet of the pool and clearly in sight.
- Keep pool chemicals safely locked away when not in use. Even the newer, less toxic pool chemicals could be hazardous to children if they ingest them or get them in their eyes.
Following these swimming pool safety tips won't remove every risk. But they will make it safer for your children and other little ones in the neighborhood to enjoy the fun of summertime swimming for many years to come.