Home Swimming Pool Safety: Are You Protected?
Is my pool safe? That’s a question that every home swimming pool owner should be asking themselves. The United States Consumer Product Safety Commission (USCPSC) recently found that thousands of pool injuries and drowning incidents occur every year, hundreds involving young children. Most pool accidents can be avoided with preventative safety measures and good common sense. Read the following home swimming pool safety tips to learn if you’re doing everything you can to make your swimming pool safe for summer fun.
The Right Swimming Pool Safety Equipment Can Save Lives
Do you have a fence? A pool cover? Have you checked your pool drains lately? Follow these steps for safer swimming pool equipment.
- Invest in a sturdy pool cover for times when the swimming pool isn’t in use. Power safety covers that have been approved by the American Society for Testing and Materials are convenient, widely available, and easy to operate.
- Install a self-latching fence around the pool. Be sure to choose fencing materials that aren’t easy to climb. The USCPSC recommends at least a 4-foot high barrier with fence slats less than 4 inches apart. (The width of the fence slats is important to keep children from squeezing through.)
- Check the pool’s drain and suction covers. If they are missing or broken, repair them immediately and keep everyone out of the pool. Faulty drains can cause accidental entrapment, which can lead to drowning. The best option is making sure they’re federally-compliant—if not, install drain covers that meet the standards of the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool & Spa Safety Act.
- If a door in your house leads to the swimming pool, consider installing a door alarm to alert you if someone—especially a child—is entering the pool area.
- Keep life-saving flotation devices and a pool hook nearby to aid in a rescue situation.
- Acquire a first aid kit and a pair of scissors in case you need to cut hair or clothing if it’s causing entrapment.
- Get clearly marked depth and “No Diving” signs painted on your pool walls.
An Unused Swimming Pool Isn’t Always Safe
When you’re finished enjoying the pool, make sure you take all the toys and flotation devices out of the pool so that curious children don’t try to reach for them. Cover the pool and lock the fence.
If you have an above-ground pool, remove the steps or ladder so no one can climb them.
Stay Alert—and Nearby—When Children Are in the Pool
According to the USPSC , a child can drown in less time than it takes to answer the phone. That’s why it’s critically important that you never leave children unattended when they’re swimming in your pool—and why any child younger than 5 years old should always be within arm’s reach.
For an extra measure of security, familiarize yourself with CPR and basic rescue procedures and always keep a phone near the swimming pool.
A Clean Pool Can Help Prevent the Spread of Illness
Dirty pool water is a breeding ground for harmful bacteria and germs that can cause sickness and infections in swimmers. But making the effort to keep your swimming pool and water as clean as possible can help minimize the possibility of illness.
- Regularly sanitize the pool with chlorine and test the water to make sure you’re maintaining the correct pH level, which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says should remain between 7.2 and 7.8.
- Remove debris every day and “shock” your pool (meaning heavily chlorinate it) with liquid pool shock at least once a week—and even more often if you use the pool frequently.
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