In order to truly be able to kick back and relax at the pool this summer, you want to know everything there is to know about pool safety. We have compiled our top tips for staying safe while swimming this summer.
Secure the Pool When It Is Not in Use
One of the most important things you can keep in mind for water safety is that the pool must be kept secure when you are not actively swimming. This will prevent small children from getting themselves into a sticky situation. You want to keep your children and/or grandchildren safe at all times.
Completely encircle your pool with four-sided isolation fencing and a child-resistant self-closing and self-latching gate.
When compared to three-sided property line fencing, a four-sided isolation fence — one that separates the pool area from the home and yard — reduces a young child's chance of drowning by 83%. Those extra home pool drowning prevention measures can truly be lifesaving
When an adult is not actively supervising an above-ground pool, secure, lock, or remove steps, ladders, and anything else that can be utilized for access, such as outdoor furniture and toys. In addition, install a backyard pool cover during the off-season and use pool drain covers for extra swimming pool safety.
You may also want to consider installing a secondary barrier on all doors and windows with direct access to the pool or spa areas, such as door alarms and locks that are out of reach of children. If you have a spa or hot tub in addition to a pool, definitely invest in a cover that locks so that children cannot easily open it.
Know How To Perform CPR if Necessary
Of course, we all hope that accidents won’t happen, but sometimes the unthinkable does occur. It is worthwhile to have your CPR certification kept up to date in the event of an emergency.
Bystanders are frequently the first to save a drowning victim, thus knowing CPR can save a life. Once you've earned your CPR certification, make sure to keep it current. Many hospitals and community centers provide CPR lessons, or you can contact the American Red Cross.
If a Child Goes Missing, Check the Pool First
If you are a pool owner, safety rules for children are a must. Whether you are a parent, grandparent, friend, or daycare provider, if you have a pool you must be vigilant. If you happen to notice that you can’t find a child, the pool is the absolute first place to check.
Teach Children How To Swim
It might sound overly simplified, but it’s true: children who have had swimming lessons are far less likely to die from drowning than children who haven’t. There are so many different options for swimming lessons for children.
Some experts say that even babies can learn to swim, at least enough to turn themselves over and save themselves if they happen to fall into the water. However, some children can benefit from safety equipment like life jackets and water wings, even once they are older.
If you are a parent, check out your local YMCA or afterschool program to see if there are any options available. If you are a grandparent, can you even think of a better birthday or Christmas gift to give than the gift of swimming safety? Definitely something to think about!
Never Leave a Child Unattended
When children are in or near water, always do your best to keep an eye on them and never, ever leave them alone. You might want to try this idea: Designate an official “Water Watcher”, an adult in charge of keeping an eye on the kids in the water. They shouldn't be reading, messaging, or playing games on their phones; that should be their exclusive purpose.
The role of the Water Watcher can rotate so that no one has to be on duty all day. The person who assumes this position should keep a phone nearby in case they need to call for assistance, and again, if a child goes missing, check the pool first.
Even if there is a lifeguard on duty, for example at a public pool, parents and caregivers should be vigilant and take responsibility for watching their own children. When a lifeguard chair is vacant, the remaining lifeguards may not be able to see the entire pool, and when lifeguards are placed in low chairs, other pool-goers may block their vision.
Enforce and Follow the Rules
When you are at your own pool, make sure you have some rules in place. It may sound a little silly, but you might even consider hanging a sign to make your rules clear. Here are some ideas for rules you may want to consider enforcing at your pool:
- No running around the pool area
- Don’t dive headfirst (depending of course on the depth of your pool)
- Stay sober while swimming
- Don’t swim immediately after eating
- Swim with a buddy; don’t swim alone
- Water Watchers should be constantly vigilant
- Stay away from drains or other open areas that create any sort of suction
Keep a First Aid Kit Close at Hand
This is a great tip for dealing with even everyday scrapes, cuts, and bruises. We all know that accidents happen, and anyone can trip and skin a knee. Having some antibiotic ointment and bandages nearby is always a good idea!
You might want to keep a pair of scissors in your first aid kit as well, in case you find yourself in a situation where you need to cut hair or clothes out of a filter or drain opening. Though it wouldn’t be necessary for most poolside situations, you can even purchase waterproof first aid kits if you feel it’s necessary for your pool set up.
Don’t Rely Too Heavily on Floatation Devices
We all love to throw on our swimsuits, relax on a pool float, and laze around in the water. However, you should not rely on that giant pineapple float as though it were a Coast Guard-issued life vest. While they will certainly keep you afloat, most pool floats should not be used as life-saving devices.
In fact, the illusion of safety that is created by rafts and floats can actually lure you into a false sense of security, and might even obscure your vision to see if someone actually is in trouble. It’s a good idea to have these floats in your pool only when you or someone else is using them, and not have too many floating around on the surface.
Keep Long Hair Tied Up or Away
If you or your loved ones have longer hair, it is a good idea to keep it up or under a bathing cap. Wearing a bathing cap is a great way to prevent chlorine damage anyway, but keeping hair tidy ensures that you won’t get it stuck in any drains or filters.
The most secure style would be a bun or a braid, but unless your hair is very long, even a simple ponytail should do the trick.
Think About Swimsuit Colors
This one might be one you’ve never heard of: You may want to consider the color of the swimsuit you and your loved ones are wearing. This is especially true when it comes to children, but is important for adults as well.
When swimming in a pool, think about the color of the water and the lining. It’s usually blue, turquoise, or a similar color. While your gorgeous teal and blue swimsuit might look amazing on you, you might want to save it for the beach rather than the pool.
A blue-toned suit is difficult to see under the water compared to a bright color like fuchsia or red. Even a black suit is more visible than a blue one. This is something to think about when buying swimsuits for your kids and grandkids!
Apply and Reapply Sunscreen
We probably sound like a broken record, but always wear your sunscreen!
As the ozone barrier has been depleted, our risk of sun damage from dangerous UV rays has grown. Sunscreen blocks these rays, reducing the risk of sunburn significantly. Look for products with an SPF of at least 15 (some doctors recommend no less than 30). You'll need around an ounce to cover your entire body.
In the United States, skin cancer is the most frequent type of cancer. By using sunscreen you can significantly reduce your risk of getting skin cancer. To keep the level of protection where it needs to be, you should reapply your sunscreen frequently, especially if you are getting in and out of the water often.
Pool safety doesn’t have to be a drag, but it is absolutely necessary. It’s better to be safe than sorry. Implement some pool rules, watch children carefully, and make sure you secure your pool when not in use. If you are using a public pool, stay vigilant even if there are lifeguards on duty.
Medically speaking, it’s a good idea to keep a first aid kit handy and keep your CPR certification current, just in case anything does happen despite precautions. Wear that sunscreen, don your brightly colored swimsuit, and have the best summer yet!