Keep Your Kids Safe at the Pool: 5 Critical Rules
Nothing says summer quite like hanging out in your backyard swimming pool. In fact, private swimming pools provide one of the best opportunities for kids to get outside and stay active during the long summer months. While pools are fun, they can also be dangerous, which is why it’s important to take a couple of minutes at the beginning of summer and set down some hard and fast rules for your kids regarding pool and water safety. Here are 5 critical rules that every family should follow when it comes to the family swimming pool.
- Never swim alone: Children under 18 should always have adult supervision and even those 18 or over should have a friend or family member swim with them or be in the vicinity at all times. This is the most important rule of all and one that must be followed, as the Center for Disease Control states that most swimming pool accidents occur within 5 minutes of a parent or family member taking their eyes off of their child.
- Keep the gate locked: One critical rule of swimming pool safety is to keep your swimming pool barricaded when not in use. Pool safety experts recommend installing up a fence of at least four to five feet with slats tight enough so that not even the smallest child can squeeze in. Make sure that no footholds or handholds exist for young swimmers, and remember that self-closing and self-latching gates that are out of reach are best. Locks are good as well, but better still are audible gate alarms, which allows residents inside of the house know if someone if the gate is opened or if someone is trying to open it.
- No roughhousing in the pool area: Even with slip-proof decking material, roughhousing and running anywhere near the pool is a big no-no. Not only does the pool area tend to be slippery (despite any precautions you might take), but it is all too easy for someone to hit his or her head and slip under the water, necessitating a full-on rescue.
- No electrical appliances in the pool area: This basically includes any type of screen, due to the danger of electric shock if the device falls in the water. It’s generally a good idea to set a family rule to keep all phones, e-readers, and expensive portable devices away from the pool area anyway, as the risk of expensive water damage is just too great.
- Only dive where it’s safe: Diving into a swimming pool should only be done when the water is deep enough, which minimizes the risk of injury or hitting one’s head. In fact, most public pools do not allow diving in water that is less than six to eight feet deep. Above-ground swimming pools should never allow diving, while below-ground ones should only allow diving from a diving board. In addition, before diving everyone needs to check to be sure that other swimmers aren’t in the way.
Swimming pool safety is a must for pool owners: both parents and kids alike. By communicating these safety rules effectively to your children as well as to any friends who come over, you can ensure that your backyard pool remains a safe and fun experience for everyone.