Have a Swimming Pool at Home? Use These 10 Tips to Keep Your Kids Safe.
Swimming pools are an excellent addition to a property as they can keep your kids entertained for hours. They also help you escape the heat during summer. However, it is estimated that about 300 children below five die every day after drowning in a swimming pool. And 87% of these deaths occur in backyard swimming pools.
Therefore, if you have a swimming pool in your home or are planning to install one, ensure all the safety tips are in place to guarantee the safety of your children and family.
10 Swimming Pool Safety Tips Parents Should Practice at Home
Real-life drowning is not as it’s depicted on TV of a kid kicking and splashing. By the time a kid is drowning, they don’t get to kick as they have no energy since they can’t access air; it’s usually quiet and pretty fast. Therefore, implement these tips to safeguard your children’s life.
- Have a Talk With Your Kids About Water Safety
As a parent, you probably talk to your kids about everything, from stranger danger to sitting correctly in a car and not crossing the road without an adult. However, we fail to talk about the most dangerous aspect, drowning, which can happen in a second, snatching lives.
Most drowning accidents do not happen when children are swimming. They are accidents, so a child may slide or slip by the pool door to play with the water. Talk to your children about the dangers of being around the swimming pool without a supervisor, as they can drown. You can show them a video that’s not very graphic.
- Clean Pool
Always ensure that the pool is cleaned regularly, especially during summer, as kids spend most of the time swimming. And as we all know, some kids might find the journey to the bathroom long and opt to pee in the pool.
- Install Pool Barriers
Installing a pool barrier around the swimming pool is the best method of keeping your kids safe. Ensure that the gate can be locked so kids can’t open it. You can also outfit the barrier with an alarm so that every time your children try to bypass it; you are alerted.
Follow these guidelines enacted by the U.S Consumer Product Safety Commission.
- Install a fence all around the pool.
- The fence should be at least four feet high.
- Ensure that the fence is built in a way kids can’t climb over it, meaning it doesn’t have places to hold or step on to scale upwards. And remove all objects that a child can use to prop themselves up.
- Install a safety cover on your pool and ensure your kids can’t access the control panel.
- Install an alarm on the fence gates, which alarms you whenever anyone enters the pool.
- The door latch should not be within a child’s reach, at least 54 inches above the ground, and it should be self-closing. The door should also open outwards, not inwards.
- The pool should have small slat spaces a child can’t fit through, preferably at most 4 inches apart. This also helps keep pets safe.
- Enroll Your Children in Swim Lessons
If you have a swimming pool, go to the beach often, or live near a lake, it’s a prerequisite that you enroll your child in swimming lessons. Although it doesn’t guarantee that your child won’t drown, it’s a preventative measure, especially for children aged 1-4.
Consult with your pediatrician when to enroll your kid in swimming lessons. The objective behind the lesson is to get your child used to water and slowly learn how to swim.
If your child has never been in a large body of water, the moment they fall into the water, they will panic, resulting in drowning.
- Always Have a Watcher
When your kids are swimming, always have someone watching them around the clock. It can be tiring to watch the same person for hours, have people in the house take turns, and ensure that your watchers know how to swim and rescue emergency measures such as CPR.
As we all know, kids love having pool parties. During parties, have more than one person watching them. You can hire lifeguards as they are trained and can pinpoint when a child is in distress and intervene in time.
- Enact Pool Rules at Home
Enact pool rules at home and have your kids adhere to them. The rules include the following:
- Not to enter the swimming pool without an adult present
- Always seek permission when going to the swimming pool
- Never climb over the pool fence
- Never swim or play near swimming pool drains and suction outlets. This is because they can entrap them, thus drowning as they wouldn’t be able to swim.
- Not to run or push each other into the pool.
- Never dive or jump at the shallow end
- No rough playing in the pool.
- Use the bathroom and not the pool.
- Call for help if someone is in trouble
- Prepare for Emergencies
Having a pool is rewarding as it is dangerous, so have all the tools required during an emergency. These include:
- Ensure everyone; kids included, knows how to swim.
- Enroll your family members in first aid and CPR courses.
- Ensure that you have a swimming pool nearby and that it has safety equipment, such as floaters, reaching poles, or life rings.
- Post emergency numbers on the poolside and include your address.
- Ensure everybody knows all the swimming pool rules and adheres to them.
- Floatation Devices
Don’t rely on the floatation toys sold in the shops, as most require additional support. It would be best to invest in devices labeled as “Coast Guard-Approved.
- Cover Your Swimming Pool When Not in Use
Even if you have a fence around your pool, having additional safety never hurts anyone. So, install a motorized swimming pool and leave it covered when you are not using it, even during summer. And ensure it fits the pool snugly without leaving any space, and ensure that the kids don’t have access to the control remote. If your pool is above ground, remove the ladders to deny access.
You can use pool nets if you don’t have a budget for a motorized pool cover. These nets are UV-safe and cover the entire pool. The aim is to protect your children from drowning after jumping into the pool.
Apart from outfitting the gate and the fence with an alarm, an extra security layer wouldn’t hurt. So consider fitting your pool with an underground alarm alerting you anytime anyone gets into the water.
- Don’t Focus on Your Phone
When watching your kids swim, keep your phone away and keep a keen eye on your children. This is because it only takes a second for your kids to drown.
- Collect All the Toys
After your pool day, ensure you’ve collected all the toys the kids were playing with. This is because if they sneak over and see a toy in the pool, they will be tempted to reach for it unknowingly without wearing floaters. So, remove all the temptations.
- Avoid Entrapments
While most parents are focused on keeping their children safe from drowning, they forget that their children can be avid swimmers, but if they lift the drain covers, they can’t save themselves. So, ensure that your pool drain has an anti-entrapment drain cover. And if it gets broken when cleaning or renovating the pool, make sure to replace it immediately.
Every swimming pool should have at least two drains so that if one gets blocked, the other can release the pressure. And if it has one drain, install a vacuum release system so that if it gets blocked, the vacuum system can disengage the suction.
That said, teach your kids never to go near pool drains and other openings found in a pool to avoid being trapped.
- Inflatable Pools
Drowning is not only restricted to swimming pools; parents who cannot afford or don’t have enough space in their backyard often use inflatable baby pools, which can also result in drowning if kids are not supervised. So, ensure that your children are always supervised and after the pool day, drain the water.
- Familiarize Yourself With the Legal Risks of Owning a Pool
No matter how prepared you are and the measures you’ve taken to prevent pool accidents, they still happen. So ensure you know all the legal risks of owning a pool and take steps to minimize them by:
- Adhering to home safety pool rules stipulated in your areas.
- Ensure every person supervising the children knows all the safety measures, including swimming and CPR.
- Ensure that everyone agrees to swim with another person present.
- Don’t allow drunk people in the pool.
- Ensure you have it covered in your homeowner’s insurance policy.
- Remove the diving board.
Water safety is something that all parents should observe and talk to their children about. You can guarantee your children’s safety in the swimming pool by enrolling them in swim lessons, fencing the swimming pool, and having someone watch them as they swim. Use the pool safety tips discussed above to safeguard your children’s lives at home