Your kids have wanted a pool for a while. They’ve begged and begged, and finally you’ve decided to give in. After all, you could benefit from swimming a few laps every day as well. You’d also like a cool, relaxing refuge for those hot summer days.
However, now that you’ve begun building your pool, you worry that it might become a danger to your children. You want them to enjoy the pool, but you don’t want them to get hurt because of it either. You know a instituting a few rules will keep them safe.
Browse the list of rules below and decide which ones your children need to hear. Most people understand common sense, like not swimming alone or not diving in shallow water. But make sure everyone understands the following tips as well.
- Teach your children to swim.
Children and even adults can drown if they don’t know how to swim. They could slip out of their flotation devices, or they could become stuck under toys or other people. If everyone knows how to swim, everyone can propel themselves away from potential traps and get out of the water.
However, don’t use swimming lessons as a replacement for supervision. Even if everyone knows how to swim, they should never swim alone.
- Have children or guests who can’t swim wear life jackets.
People who can’t swim should wear flotation devices that they can’t slip out of. Purchase life jackets that fit over the torso and have a buckle. These life jackets will stay on even the most energetic child, as long as that child doesn’t undo the buckle.
Again, just as swimming lessons don’t replace supervision, flotation devices don’t either. Watch swimmers at all times so everyone stays safe.
- Ensure that someone who can swim well has lifeguard duty.
When you go rock climbing, you have an expert on the ground who spots you. The expert can give you climbing advice, and he or she will manage your rope and other safety equipment in case you fall. A lifeguard does something similar. Designate one or two adult members of your family who can swim well as your lifeguards. Have your lifeguards take turns swimming so everyone can participate in the fun.
- Keep an emergency phone and a first-aid kit near the pool.
Even if you watch your swimmers like a hawk, they could still end up with injuries. But if you act quickly, those injuries don’t have to turn into tragedies. Keep an emergency cordless phone near your pool for quick access, and have a first-aid kit nearby as well. This first-aid kid should contain more than just the basics—swimming could result in breathing problems, head injuries, broken bones, and more, so your kit should include supplies to handle them.
- Learn CPR.
If someone falls into the pool and stops breathing, you can’t always wait for the paramedics. They could take several minutes to arrive, and the brain can only go four to six minutes without oxygen. Learn CPR so you can clear your family members’ lungs and help them breathe again before brain damage or death occurs.
- Look in the pool first if you can’t find someone.
Again, time is of the essence when someone stops breathing. If you can’t find a guest or family member, look in the pool first so you can fish him or her out for quick treatment. Once you’ve determined that a person hasn’t fallen in the pool, you can search elsewhere.
- Stay away from drains, pipes, and other openings.
In the past, people have suffered serious injuries because of entrapment on drains and pipes. Luckily, pool manufacturers have mitigated these injury risks by making safer drain covers. But you should still warn your family members about these risks and instruct them to avoid these openings.
- Prohibit breath-holding contests or “drowning” contests.
Swimmers can sometimes drown when they are just trying to have fun. They stay underwater too long, and then they can’t find the surface or make themselves swim fast enough, so they start to drown. Tell your children that they may not hold their breath for a long time underwater. Nor should they pretend to drown their siblings. Enforce strict consequences if your children play these games anyway.
- Put fences at least four feet tall around your pool.
Your children may want to swim all the time, but you’ll eventually need a break. During your break, you must take steps to keep your children from swimming unsupervised. Keep them out by installing fences and gates at least four feet tall around the pool. The latches on the gates should hang beyond your children’s reach.
- Purchase door alarms for pool gates, and remember to latch those gates.
Safeguard your children and your pool further by putting door alarms on your gates. These alarms sound whenever someone enters your pool without permission. Do not give your young children (or maybe even some of your older children) the code to shut off the alarm.
- Install a pool cover.
A pool cover can keep your children from accidentally falling into the pool. Purchase a cover that doesn’t let any water through.
Don’t let an accident ruin the fun and relaxation a pool can bring you. Follow the tips above to keep your family safe, and call your pool’s manufacturer to see if he or she has any additional safety tips for your particular model.