Kids love to play in pools, and who can blame them? The cool, blue water is inviting on a summer's day and it's easy for them to spend hours splashing and diving and inventing water games.
As wonderful as pools are, it's crucial that parents keep in mind that drowning is one of the leading causes of death for children under two years of age and for adolescents. But there is a lot you can do to safeguard against this.
Safeguarding a Pool
Keep your pool safe. Store the pool's chemicals in a safe place out of reach of children. Wear gloves and goggles when applying chemicals and follow a schedule for using them. This keeps the water safe and clean.
Do not have any unnecessary electrical equipment nearby. Check that the pool's equipment is correctly installed.
Use an approved pool safety cover; make sure it fits your pool properly and is fastened securely into place during the off season and when you are on vacation. Remove it completely when using the pool.
Fence the pool. Check your city's building code requirements for pool fences. Even when you follow all regulations, there may be spaces where a child could squeeze through the fence or climb over it. Latch or lock the gate securely when leaving the pool area.
Use a float line to distinguish between shallow and deep water. Clearly mark water depths on the deck and on the pool's edge.
Keep first-aid and lifesaving equipment nearby.
Supervising Children and Other Swimmers
Never leave a child unattended around water. Make sure your children understand this rule. Adults watching children in the pool should be able to swim well and they should pay close attention. Kids who can't swim should never be more than an arm's length from an adult.
Don't swim in deep water unless you are an experienced swimmer. Inexperienced swimmers should not venture into the deep end of the pool. Do not swim alone and if you do, notify someone in the house that you will be in the pool. Make sure your teenagers follow these rules.
Use flotation devices properly: Flotation devices do not replace adult supervision. Enroll your child in a swimming class. Knowing how to swim is one of the best defenses against accidental drowning.
Post and Follow Rules
Make sure your children and their guests understand these commonsense rules. Post them in the house and outside by the pool.
- Do not swim alone.
- No running or pushing.
- No glass or sharp objects around the pool.
- No diving into shallow water or above-ground pools
- No eating or drinking in the pool.
For more information on pool safety, go to:
National Swimming Pool Foundation
Information on pool and swimming safety.
The Red Cross
This site is well worth a visit, even if you're not planning on swimming any time soon.