While summertime means more time outdoors, it also means more visits to emergency rooms for pool-related injuries. These 5 tips can help ensure pool safety for you and your family this summer:
1. Supervision. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, there are 300 drowning deaths per year in children younger than age five. In most of these deaths, children were missing for less than five minutes and were often supervised by two adults.
In addition to checking the pool first in the event that your child goes missing, you should never leave your child unsupervised near a pool. Instruct babysitters and other adults about pools as a potential hazard to young children and the need for constant supervision.
Never allow another child to supervise your own at the pool. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends "touch supervision”— the supervisor should never be more than an arms length away from an infant or toddler that is around water.
2. Enclose Your Pool. Consider layers of protection when thinking about your pool. Completely fence in the pool so young, curious seekers do not end up poolside unattended. Self-closing and self-latching gates (with latches out of reach for small children) can also prevent young children from getting too close. Keep tables and chairs away from the fence to prevent climbers from scaling into the pool area. Make sure that doors, windows and other potential entrances to the pool are well-secured and not easily opened by young children. You might also consider placing an alarm on these exits to warn you if they’re opened. If you have an above-ground pool, make sure you remove access ladders when the pool is not in use. Finally, consider a pool safety cover that can hold the weight of two adults, which would make sure that a child who falls onto the cover remains safe.
3. Swimming Lessons. While certainly not a substitute for diligent supervision, teaching your child swimming skills can decrease the risk of drowning. Research demonstrates participation in formal swimming lessons decreases risk of drowning in children between ages one and four.
4. Learn CPR. Cardiopulmonary resuscitation, or CPR, is an essential safety skill when you have a pool– both for you and anyone else that is caring for your child. If your child has been submerged in water, providing CPR can save their life.
5. Diminish Health Risks. Pools are enjoyable, but they’re also filled with potential health risks. These risks not only come from other people, but also from organic material like decaying leaves, bird droppings, rain water tainted with fungi, or dead insects and organisms. Pool surface maintenance techniques such as skimming and skimmer cleansing help remove decaying organisms from your pool. Additionally, proper chlorination and disinfectants are important to decrease health hazards from swim diapers and others pool waste.
As pool plaster ages, the surface may potentially cut, scrape, or scratch your skin. Pool finish maintenance products add tiny pebbles, stones, and other products to not only improve the look, but also increase the lifespan of your pool’s finish. Pool finish maintenance with these aggregate products can increase the time to your next remodel by five or more years.
From learning CPR and placing secure barriers, to making sure surface and finish maintenance projects are up to date, you can make your pool the safest one around this summer.