One way to keep cool during the summer is in the pool! Here are a few tips to help keep you and your family safe while you enjoy splashing and swimming:
Tips for Adults
- Prevent unauthorized access to the pool by installing the proper safety fencing. This fence should be at least 5 feet high and have self-closing and self-latching gates.
- Put alarms on windows or doors that exit to the pool area to alert you in the event someone goes out there.
- Arrange outdoor furniture so that it doesn’t allow anyone to use it to climb over the fence into the pool area.
- Maintain the pool and and covers in good working order.
- When not in use, put away pool toys so that children are not attracted to the pool area.
- If you are using a portable pool (including inflatable pools or baby pools), empty it after use. A child can drown in as little as 1 inch of water.
- Always supervise your children. This is especially true at a home pool. But even if you are at a pool with lifeguards, keep an eye on your children. The lifeguard is not a baby sitter.
- Always go into the pool with a young child.
- Teach your child basic water safety tips. Enroll your child in swim lessons as soon as he is water-ready. It could be as young as 6 months.
- Inform anyone using the pool (family, friends, neighbors) of the safety rules at your house.
- Do not drink alcohol. While relaxing with a drink around the pool might seem to be a nice way to enjoy the time, alcohol impairs judgement, balance, coordination and the body’s ability to stay warm. You need to remain alert not only to prevent any accidents for yourself, but to be able to handle anything that may come up with your children.
- Appoint a designated monitor to watch the children in the pool during a social gathering.
- If a child goes missing, check the pool first. Every second counts to prevent injury or death.
- Have a phone handy to be able to call 9-1-1 in an emergency.
- Keep reaching or throwing equipment next to the pool to help get a struggling swimmer out of the water.
- Learn CPR. Your efforts can keep someone who stops breathing alive until medical help arrives.
Keep a fully stocked Emergency Kit near the pool. That way you have everything you need to treat scrapes, stings, and other emergencies immediately.
Tips for All
- Be sure you know how to swim. While this does not make you “drown-proof” (you might panic and forget your swimming skills), it does raise your ability to handle yourself in water. Enquire at your local YMCA or Red Cross for the appropriate swim lessons.
- If you don’t know how to swim, wear a U.S. Coast Guard approved life jacket. Water wings or floating toys are not designed to keep the swimmer safe.
- If you are a beginning swimmer don’t go deeper than where you can touch the bottom of the pool.
- Always swim with a buddy. That way there is someone who can help in the event of an emergency.
- Dive only in designated areas. It is safest to enter the water feet first. This prevents head injuries in case the water is shallow.
- Don’t dunk others in the pool or have breath-holding contests.
- If you start to feel cold or tired, get out of the pool.
- Stay away from pool drains and suction fittings. Hair, clothing and even limbs can get tangled up if these are not working properly.
- Wear sunscreen. Sunlight reflected off the water is more intense, which can cause sunburns that are not felt in the cool water.
- Drink plenty of water or other healthy fluids to prevent dehydration.
The pool is a great place to beat the summer heat. There are so many opportunities to have fun learning new skills (swimming and diving), hanging out or playing with your friends and just relaxing on a float. Following the guidelines listed above will allow you to enjoy all of these and more because you will have ensured the safety of all and be prepared to handle a emergency if it does come up.
For more pool safety tips, please visit these sites: Kidshealth.org, RedCross.org, NationalWaterSafetyMonth.org.