Home swimming pools have become a great means of recreation for many families, not just in the summer months, but all year round. Whether your pool is outdoors or indoors there are things you should know to maintain a well-functioning and safe pool environment.
A sudden mishap can cause long-lasting pain and grief, so home pool-side safety should go beyond the common sense approach. You should provide a regimen of rules and guidelines that must be enforced by the owner as well as understood and honoured by the guests.
- Provide constant adult supervision for anyone under the age of 12 and any non-swimmer adults.
- Never leave children alone in or near the pool, even for a moment. Whenever infants or toddlers are in or around water, an adult should be within arm’s length.
- Make sure adults watching young children in the pool know CPR and can rescue a child
Rescue Equipment and Procedures
- Provide at least the minimum rescue equipment: a shepherd’s hook or long pole with a hook on the end, and life ring.
- Learn CPR and accident procedures, and train all caretakers and caregivers.
- Use a floating pool alarm device with a remote alarm that will sound in the house and a local alarm that will alert someone near the pool area. These devices are inexpensive and alarm batteries and functions should be checked regularly.
- Alternatively, install an alarm that detects motion through an infra-red beam. These alarms are independent of your burglar alarm systems and are designed to be easily mounted outside without doing electrical work and often come with a remote alarm for inside the home, plugged into any electrical outlet.
- Keep a telephone or cordless phone near the pool, and post emergency numbers.
- Surround your pool on all four sides with a sturdy fence that at least meets the specifications set out by law.
- Make sure the gates self-close and self-latch at a height children can’t reach.
- Isolate the pool from your home. Doors leading to an indoor pool should be locked and alarmed.
- There should be no reason to open the gate to an outdoor pool, other than to use the pool itself. Other areas of your yard should be accessible without opening the swimming pool fence.
- Sliding glass doors to an indoor pool or patio where there is a pool should be locked at the top, in addition to any other locks.
Water Savvy Children
- Have your toddler trained for pool survival when he is able to crawl or walk to your pool.
- This training is not intended to teach the child to swim, but to provide some basic skills to help survive in an accidental fall into the pool.
- If you do not have your child in the water over the winter months, particularly a child under age 3 years, he will require a refresher to “remember” what was learned the summer before.
- Mark the shallow and deep ends.
- Always play safe around a pool. Falls on slippery decks, diving boards, and ladders and diving into shallow water are major causes of injury around swimming pools.
- Establish some specific pool rules covering its use and rules for when it is not in use. ENFORCE THEM!
- Avoid inflatable swimming aids for non-swimmers – they are not a substitute for approved life vests and can give children a false sense of security.
- Restrict the use of the immediate pool area to swimming related activity – other play should take place outside the pool area.
- Avoid the use of excess alcohol near water or when swimming. Whirlpools and hot tubs can increase the effects alcohol has on the body.
- Keep radios, CD players and other electrical appliances away from the pool and hot-tub. Appoint ONE child watcher when having a party.
- Check the pool FIRST if a child is missing.
- Bring glass containers onto the pool deck.
- Use the outdoor pool or hot-tub during thunder and lightning storms.
- Leave toys and games in or around the pool when not in use.
- Position tables and chairs near the outside of a pool fence.
- Permit anyone, including adults, to swim alone. Set a good example for the kids.