New pool owners? Congratulations! But, before settling down to catch some rays by the poolside, make sure that the area is safe for you, your children and everyone else who may come into contact with your new recreational area. The following are five tips for keeping your pool area safe.
Design Your Pool To Be Safe
Don’t leave pool safety up to chance; design it to be a place where it’s difficult for accidents to happen. Installing swimming pool fencing is a good first step. The fencing will keep children and animals from wandering into the pool area unobserved. Also keep safety equipment, such as floatation devices and a first-aid kit, nearby for easy access. Designating a spot where a mobile telephone will be kept while the pool is in use or wiring a landline telephone into the pool area will ensure you’ll never have to waste precious time searching for a way to contact emergency services. Make sure there are no obstructions around the pool that will make it difficult for adults to see children while they play in the pool.
Have a Must-Swim Policy
Another way to prevent accidents is to mandate that anyone using the pool has to know how to swim confidently. Of course, how well a child can swim is a subjective thing, but you can tell parents that you won’t let their children swim in your pool until they have completed a swimming course or have demonstrated to you that they are competent swimmers. It can be difficult to say “no” to guests, but if you present your house rules firmly and politely, they aren’t likely to take offense.
Don’t Strictly Rely on Swimming Lessons
Though swimming lessons are great, having had them is not a guarantee of safety for children and young people using your pool. A young person may lack the maturity to get out of the pool when he feels over-tired. Groups of boys and girls may want to play games that get rowdy and exhaust smaller or less able swimmers, who then feel shy about getting out of the water before their peers. Horseplay in the pool and on the poolside’s slippery surfaces can also result in injury for otherwise good swimmers. It’s important adult pool owners teach the children and youth who use their pools how to recognize risks and stay safe in and out of the water.
Take a CPR or Certified First Responder Course
In most communities, you can take a course in cardiopulmonary resuscitation, or CPR, through a fire department or local community center. These inexpensive courses usually take a few evenings or a weekend, and you are provided with a certificate upon its conclusion. Generally, you will be asked that you refresh your knowledge of CPR every two years or so. Taking a course in CPR allows you to learn how to restore a patient’s airways so he or she can breathe. It may also be useful to you to take a course to be a certified first responder. In this course, you’ll learn more about assessing risks, immobilizing broken bones and spinal injuries, and other first aid. Local hospitals, police departments and scuba-diving shops may offer these kinds of classes, which usually take a few days.
Make Pool Rules Clear
As a homeowner, you’ve got right to enjoy your pool as you see fit and to set the rules for its use. Don’t be shy about making those rules clear to babysitters and other adults watching over children near your pool. In fact, even if you doubt the children will want to use the pool because of other ongoing activities or inclement weather, make sure the other responsible adults know what you will allow and disallow for safety’s sake. Be sure that when children are in the pool, everyone is clear on which adult is in charge and which adults are watching out for the kids’ safety — don’t let everyone assume someone else is doing it.
About the Author: Rita Swanson has owned three different swimming pools in as many homes and is an advocate for water safety.