One of the many enjoyments of the summer months for many families is going swimming. While enjoying a fresh dip in the pool, we must be mindful of the risks and dangers of swimming pools.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, between 1999 and 2010, there were more than 46,000 drowning deaths in the United States. Additionally, children under the age of 5 years old are found to be at the highest risk of drowning in household pools. Although there is no possible way to completely make your pool safe, the Bristol Kendall Fire Department offers some very important safety tips in attempts to improve the safety of household pools.
First, restrict the pool area so that young children cannot enter the pool area. It is suggested that the best means of restricting pool access is by constructing a fence around the pool area. The optimal height of the fence should be 5 feet. Also check with local laws and community associations for their recommendations or specifications as well. Additionally, remove all items that are next to the fence to prevent children from climbing over the fence.
To add additional safety to your fence, add a lock to the gate to prevent easy access to the pool area. It is recommended to keep the keys to these locks out of reach of young children. Make sure the gate is closed at all times. While older children and adults are in the pool having fun, it is often hard to monitor the gate for any young children entering the pool area. An easy way to monitor entry and exit of the pool area by young children, install a self-closing and self-latching gate to your fence.
Due to pool activities adding to the fun of the summer months, make attempts to avoid unintentional trips and slip on the pool deck. It is recommended that pool owners cover the area directly around the pool with a non-slip surface. Strictly enforce rules of no running around the pool to decrease the frequency of injuries due to trips and slips. Keep your pool deck or area directly around the pool clean. The incidence of injury or death due to clutter of toys and other objects significantly increases when the pool deck is messy. If something isn’t being used, make sure it is put away properly to decrease the chances of trips and falls.
Encourage both adults and children that are not able to swim to take swimming lessons. As a rule of thumb, any child under the age of 3, or any person entering the water that is not a strong swimmer should wear a personal flotation device (PFH).
Make rules for the pool area and stick to them. Such rules can include no children swimming without direct adult supervision, no running around the pool, require all young children and non-swimmers to wear PFDs, and restrict all people around the pool from throwing objects.
Keep all safety equipment close and in good working condition. Such tools include first aid kits, rescue buoy, and long reach poles. Additional preparation for pool emergencies include supervising adults to be first aid and CPR certified.
Keep all pool chemicals away from children. This can include purchasing a locking outdoor cabinet or storing the materials out of the reach of children.
Finally, when completing your swim, do a thorough scan of the area. Look for young children or people who are non-swimmers and have them leave the area when you leave and have them leave the area until another adult can take charge of monitoring the swimmers in the pool. When leaving the area, ensure that the gate is closed completely and that the gate is locked.