What is the best way to keep your child safe around the swimming pool this summer? Adults may feel that they have better things to do, but nothing could be more important than to make sure that a functionally able swimmer of teenage or up be watching while children are playing in or around a swimming pool. In the case of an infant or toddler, an adult should be in the pool at arms-length at all times. Even with older children, someone of adult age should be concentrating on them at all times…not checking their cellphone.
According to Time Magazine, drowning is the number two cause of death among young children – only birth defects claim more young lives. Hundreds of young children die in drowning accidents in the U.S. each year, and children between the ages of one and four have the highest drowning rates.
If you are the owner of a swimming pool, it is very important to be proactive and take steps to make sure that those who use your pool are safe. Here are 7 swimming pool safety rules that every owner should follow.
1. Build a fence around the pool
One of the fundamental swimming pool safety measures is to put up a fence or a similar type of barrier around the pool to ensure that kids cannot swim in it unsupervised. The best type of fence for these purposes is one in which the gate is self-closing and only opens outward. The state does not require a swimming pool fence, but many municipalities do. Check the local ordinances in your area to see if this is mandatory where you live and what the specific requirements are. It would also be a good idea to add an alarm system along with the fence to alert you if the gates to the pool are opened without your permission.
2. Set and communicate pool safety rules to users
It would be a good idea to create a list of official rules for pool area conduct that kids must follow and post them in a place that is visible. Also be sure that your own kids clearly understand these rules. Among them should include:
- Absolutely no running or roughhousing on the pool deck.
- No electrical appliances near the pool.
- No swimming without an adult present.
- No toys to be ridden around the pool.
- No dunking or holding anyone underwater.
- No diving in the shallow parts of the pool.
Speaking of diving, this is the cause of numerous serious and fatal swimming pool accidents. For this reason, it would be a good idea to consider getting rid of your diving board (if you have one) and banning diving altogether in any area of the pool.
3. Teach your children how to swim
Education is one of the best ways to ensure that your kids are able to swim safely. It does not make them accident proof, but it is a very valuable skill to have in order to stay safe in the water. Swimming lessons are offered year-round, and parent-child swimming lessons can start as young as when your child is one year old.
4. Empty inflatable pools after each use
If you have an inflatable pool, be sure to drain it completely after the swimming session is over. Large inflatable pools have become increasingly popular because they are more affordable than inground pools, and although they do not have as hard a surface, they still pose a hazard for children who could fall in if they lean against the soft sides of it. If you do decide to leave your above-ground pool up because you will be using it again soon or for whatever other reason, then it is wise to put up a fence or barrier like you would with any permanent pool.
5. Have first aid and rescue equipment nearby
In spite of our best efforts, accidents do happen, and things can sometimes go wrong when a lot of kids get together for summer fun. When this happens, it is important to have a first aid kit handy in case any of the kids get hurt. You should also have a life ring, rescue tube, life hook or something similar that is in good condition and available to rescue struggling swimmers and bring them to safety. Finally, it would be a good idea as a parent to learn CPR so that you can administer the procedure on the spot if any child ever needs it.
6. Keep pool chemicals stored and out of reach of children
Pool chemicals like chlorine help keep the swimming water free of germs that may cause disease, but these substances can also be dangerous when large quantities are ingested directly, or when they are improperly mixed. For this reason, it is very important to keep these chemicals stored and locked in an area where children do not have access to them.
7. Get anti-entrapment drain covers
The force of the suction from pool and spa drains has been known to trap young swimmers underwater. In fact, the drowning of a 7-year-old girl because of suction pressure prompted Congress to pass the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act back in 2007, which implemented basic safety standards for public pool and spa drains. Although residential pool owners are not subject to this law, it is still strongly recommended that you have anti-entrapment drain covers installed that are compliant with the Act.
Injured in a swimming pool accident in West Virginia? Contact an established personal injury law firm.
The Masters Law Firm, L.C. – serving all of West Virginia – wants you to have a safe and wonderful summer. The season is much too short, so enjoy it safely and to the fullest. And remember, if you ever need our services because of a swimming pool injury or any other type of injury, we are just a phone call away. You can reach us at 304-342-3106.